The cometary globule CG4 glows menacingly like the gaping mouth of an interstellar celestial creature.
The above image was taken by ESO’s (European Southern Observatory) Very Large Telescope.
Although it looks huge and bright the globule is a faint nebula and not easy to observe. The exact nature of CG4 is a mystery.
In 1976, several elongated comet-like objects were discovered on pictures taken with the UK Schmidt Telescope in Australia.
They became known, because of their appearance, as cometary globules even though they have nothing in common with comets.
They were all in a patch of gas called the Gum Nebula. They had dense, dark, dusty heads and long, faint tails which were generally pointing away from the Vela supernova remnant located at the centre of the Gum Nebula.
The object in this new picture, CG4, also sometimes referred to as God’s Hand, is one of these cometary globules.
It is located about 1300 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Puppis.
This new photograph comes from the ESO Cosmic Gems program, an outreach initiative to produce images of interesting, intriguing or visually attractive objects using ESO telescopes, for the purposes of education and public outreach.
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