A new image of a mysterious nebula has been revealed and has gained an interesting nickname. The astronomers working with Europe’s Very Large Telescope have been calling the photo that was captured the “Mouth of the Beast.” While scientists and astronomers aren’t entirely sure what this giant mass of cloudy gas is, or what it’s forming – astronomers and scientists have labeled it a “cometary globule.” The event is happening nearly 1,300 light years away from Earth and is embedded in the Puppis constellation.
While the European Southern Observatory’s image shows some really impressive colors – researchers have warned that it isn’t actually as bright as it appears in the photo. It’s a fairly massive cloud, too, encompassing some-1.5 light years across. Interestingly though, the globule is forming new stars – while simultaneously being destroyed by stars around it. Those studying the globule have also noted that several stars the size of the sun could be produced from the amount of gas that is inside the cloud.
Some have speculated what it might be, and alternatively to the “Mouth of the Beast” namesake that it has gathered – it’s also being called the “Hand of God” by others. There are two popular theories behind this cloud and how it formed. One theory is that stellar winds caused the cloud to form while another theory suggests that it might be the result of a massive supernova explosion that happened nearby. Scientists expect to learn more as they dive deeper into the findings and the images that were captured, but ultimately more research will need to be done before any final assumptions can be made.
Either way, the cloud is an interesting conversation starter in the science community that will give those individuals researching the gas cloud an opportunity to understand what might have formed the cloud to begin with. Interestingly, this is likely only the beginning of the cloud – as it’s unclear right now how quickly it will dissipate. Scientists believe that while it provides the energy and gas to create other stars within the cloud – that it could begin to unlock some of the mysteries around space science, and the formation of stars.