Astronomers discover first nebula with cavity

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 24, 2013 05:00 hrs

Berlin, Jan 24 (IANS/EFE) Astronomers based at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile have captured the first image of a nebula with a patch, or cavity, the ESO said Wednesday.

The nebula is in the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, located in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter) and some 1,500 light years from the Earth.

The astronomers used the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, or APEX, telescope.

"Thanks to these APEX observations, combined with infrared observations from other telescopes, astronomers believe that the patch is in fact a hole or cavity in the nebula, excavated by material flowing out of the star V380 Orionis. For once, it truly is a hole in the sky!" the ESO said in a statement.

Areas of thick clouds of cosmic gas and dust are the birthplaces of stars in space, but in visible light the dust is dark and often hides the stars behind it, the ESO said.

"So much so that, when astronomer William Herschel observed one such cloud in the constellation of Scorpius in 1774, he thought it was a region empty of stars," the ESO said.



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