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Astronomers Take a Close Glimpse on Star-Forming Region Gum 15

By using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-m telescope at the La Silla Observatory, Chile, a group of astronomers has captured a new image of a glowing cloud of cosmic gas and dust known as Gum 15.

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This image shows the star-forming region Gum 15. Image credit: ESO.

By using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-m telescope at the La Silla Observatory, Chile, a group of astronomers has captured a new image of a glowing cloud of cosmic gas and dust known as Gum 15, which is located in the constellation of Vela, nearly 3,000 light-years away from Earth.

As an obvious example of an HII region, these clouds form some of the most amazing astronomical objects we can see, for instance, the Eagle Nebula and the great Orion Nebula as well as Gum 15, not well-known so far.

In the Universe, hydrogen is the most commonly known element, which could actually be found in every environment identified by astronomers. However, HII regions are different because they incorporate a large amount of ionized hydrogen, which is known as hydrogen atoms stripped of their electrons in the process of high energy interactions with ultraviolet photons.

When the ionized hydrogen nuclei recapture electrons, they would give out light at differently unique wavelengths. Therefore, one of those wavelengths could gives nebulae like Gum 15 their reddish glow that is called as hydrogen alpha (Hα) by astronomers.

Located at the centre of the image of Gum 15 is the star HD 74804. Gum 15 has the clumpy and irregular appearance that is quite common a HII region. The reason that HII regions have diverse shapes is because of irregular distribution of stars and gas within them.

Another reason for Gum 15’s interesting shape is that there are the forked dark patches of obscuring dust and some obscuring reflection structures in the image. This dust feature of Gum 15 is similar to the better known Trifid Nebula, which is much larger and fainter than the former.

Like other HII regions, Gum 15 could give birth to thousands of stars over a period of several million years. Such stars make it to glow and sculpt its shape, but eventually these stars will destroy it.

Source: Sci-News

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