The Lobster Nebula is a region of space where stars are born, and astronomers using the NSF-supported Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile captured this image of bright young stars surrounded by billowing clouds of dust and gas.
The Lobster Nebula spans about 400 light-years and is 8,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Scorpius. At its center lies the open star cluster Pismis 24 — a collection of massive stars. Surrounding this cluster is a region brimming with protostars still wrapped in their cocoons of star-forming material, and dense cores of gas and dust that will eventually become new stars.
Astronomers captured this image using the Dark Energy Camera, fabricated by the U.S. Department of Energy and mounted on the Victor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope. The camera recently commemorated its first decade of discovery and exploration.
The observatory is part of NSF's NOIRLab.
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