ASTRONOMÍA: El pirata de los cielos australes

FORS2, un instrumento instalado en el Very Large Telescope de ESO, ha observado la activa región de formación estelar NGC 2467, a veces denominada nebulosa de la calavera y las tibias cruzadas. La imagen fue captada como parte del programa Joyas Cósmicas de ESO, que aprovecha las escasas ocasiones en las que las condiciones de observación no son adecuadas para recabar datos científicos. En lugar de permanecer inactivo, el programa Joyas Cósmicas de ESO aprovecha ese tiempo y utiliza los telescopios de ESO para captar impresionantes imágenes de los cielos del sur.

Esta vívida imagen de una activa región de formación estelar — NGC 2467, a veces denominada nebulosa de la calavera y las tibias cruzadas — es tan tenebrosa como hermosa. Esta imagen de polvo, gas y estrellas jóvenes brillantes, atadas gravitacionalmente en la forma de una calavera sonriente, fue capturada con el instrumento FORS  del Very Large Telescope (VLT) de ESO. Si bien los telescopios de ESO se usan comúnmente para recolectar datos científicos, también pueden captar imágenes como estas, las cuales son hermosas por sí mismas.

Es fácil descubrir el porqué del apodo calavera y tibias cruzadas. Esta formación brillante y joven se asemeja claramente a un amenazante rostro ahuecado, del cual solo es visible la gran boca. NGC 2467 se esconde en la constelación de Puppis, la cual se traduce de forma poco delicada como La Popa.

Esta nebulosa colección de cúmulos estelares es el lugar de nacimiento de muchas estrellas, donde el exceso de gas hidrógeno creó la materia prima para la creación estelar. Esta no es, de hecho, una sola nebulosa, y sus cúmulos estelares constituyentes se mueven a distintas velocidades. Es solo la alineación fortuita a lo largo de la línea de visibilidad desde la Tierra que hace que las estrellas y el gas formen un rostro humanoide. Esta imagen luminosa no debiera darles ninguna información nueva a los astrónomos, pero a todos nosotros nos permite echar un vistazo en los agitados cielos australes, brillantes con maravillas invisibles para el ojo humano.

Puppis es una de las tres constelaciones denominadas con nombres náuticos que navegan por los cielos australes, y que solían conformar la constelación gigante Argo Navis, nombrada así por el barco del mítico Jasón y los Argonautas. Desde entonces, Argo Navis ha sido dividida en tres: Carina (la quilla), Vela (las velas) y Puppis, hogar de esta nebulosa. Aunque Jason es una figura heroica, es más famoso por su robo del vellocino de oro, así que NGC 2467 descansa no solo en el centro de un enorme barco celestial, sino que también entre ladrones, una morada apropiada para esta nebulosa piratesca.

Esta imagen se creó como parte del programa Joyas Cósmicas de ESO, una iniciativa de difusión para producir imágenes de objetos interesantes, intrigantes o visualmente atractivos usando los telescopios de ESO, para fines educativos y de difusión pública. Este programa aprovecha el tiempo de telescopio que no puede usarse para observaciones científicas. Todos los datos recolectados podrán servir también para fines científicos, y están disponibles para los astrónomos en el archivo científico de ESO.

The Pirate of the Southern Skies

FORS2, an instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, has observed the active star-forming region NGC 2467 — sometimes referred to as the Skull and Crossbones Nebula. The image was captured as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems Programme, which makes use of the rare occasions when observing conditions are not suitable for gathering scientific data. Instead of sitting idle, the ESO Cosmic Gems Programme allows ESO’s telescopes to be used to capture visually stunning images of the southern skies.

This vivid picture of an active star-forming region — NGC 2467, sometimes referred to as the Skull and Crossbones Nebula — is as sinister as it is beautiful. This image of dust, gas and bright young stars, gravitationally bound into the form of a grinning skull, was captured with the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT).  Whilst ESO’s telescopes are usually used for the collection of science data, they can also capture images such as this — which are beautiful for their own sake.

It is easy to see the motivation for the nickname Skull and Crossbones. This young, bright formation distinctly resembles an ominous hollow face, of which only the gaping mouth is visible here. NGC 2467 skulks in the constellation Puppis, which translates rather unromantically as The Poop Deck.

This nebulous collection of stellar clusters is the birthplace of many stars, where an excess of hydrogen gas provided the raw material for stellar creation. It is not, in fact, a single nebula, and its constituent stellar clusters are moving at different velocities. It is only a fortuitous alignment along the line of sight from the Earth that makes the stars and gas form a humanoid face. This luminous image might not tell astronomers anything new, but it provides us all with a glimpse into the churning southern skies, bright with wonders invisible to the human eye.

Puppis is one of three nautically named constellations that sail the southern skies, and which used to make up the single, giant Argo Navis constellation, named after the ship of the mythical Jason and the Argonauts. Argo Navis has since been divided into three: Carina (the keel), Vela (the sails) and Puppis, where this nebula finds its home.  Whilst a heroic figure, Jason is most famous for his theft of the golden fleece, so NGC 2467 rests not only in the midst of a vast celestial ship, but amongst thieves — an appropriate abode for this piratical nebula.   

This image was created as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems programme, an outreach initiative to produce images of interesting, intriguing or visually attractive objects using ESO telescopes, for the purposes of education and public outreach. The programme makes use of telescope time that cannot be used for science observations. All data collected may also be suitable for scientific purposes, and are made available to astronomers through ESO’s science archive.

Digitized Sky Survey image around NGC 2467


This vivid picture of an active star forming region — NGC 2467, otherwise known as the Skull and Crossbones nebula — is as sinister as it is beautiful. This image of dust, gas and bright young stars, gravitationally bound into the form of a grinning skull, was captured with the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Whilst ESO’s telescopes are usually used for the collection of science data, their immense resolving power makes them ideal for capturing images such as this — which are beautiful for their own sake.

The image is a colour composite made from exposures from the Digitized Sky Survey 2 (DSS2), and shows the region surrounding NGC 2467. The field of view is approximately 2.4 x 2.0 degrees.

Credit:

ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin

NGC 2467 in the constellation of Puppis


This chart shows the location of NGC 2467 in the constellation of Puppis (The Poop Deck). The map shows most of the stars visible to the unaided eye under good conditions, and the region of sky shown in this image is indicated.

Credit:

ESO, IAU and Sky & Telescope


Videos  

ESOcast 180 Light: The Pirate of the Southern Skies (4K UHD)




This vivid picture of an active star forming region — NGC 2467, otherwise known as the Skull and Crossbones nebula — is as sinister as it is beautiful. This image of dust, gas and bright young stars, gravitationally bound into the form of a grinning skull, was captured with the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Whilst ESO’s telescopes are usually used for the collection of science data, their immense resolving power makes them ideal for capturing images such as this — which are beautiful for their own sake.

The video is available in 4K UHD.

The ESOcast Light is a series of short videos bringing you the wonders of the Universe in bite-sized pieces. The ESOcast Light episodes will not be replacing the standard, longer ESOcasts, but complement them with current astronomy news and images in ESO press releases.

Crédito:

ESO

Directed by: Nico Bartmann.
Editing: Nico Bartmann.
Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi Shida.
Written by: Sara Rigby and Calum Turner.
Music: Johan B. Monell (www.johanmonell.com).
Footage and photos: ESO, Digitized Sky Survey 2, N. Risinger (skysurvey.org).
Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen.

Zooming in on NGC 2467


This zoom video starts with a wide view of the Milky Way and ends with a close-up look at a vivid picture of an active star forming region — NGC 2467, otherwise known as the Skull and Crossbones nebula. This image of dust, gas and bright young stars, gravitationally bound into the form of a grinning skull, was captured with the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Whilst ESO’s telescopes are usually used for the collection of science data, their immense resolving power makes them ideal for capturing images such as this — which are beautiful for their own sake.

Credit:

ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org). Music: astral electronic

Panning across NGC 2467


This pan video explores a vivid active star forming region — NGC 2467, otherwise known as the Skull and Crossbones nebula. This image of dust, gas and bright young stars, gravitationally bound into the form of a grinning skull, was captured with the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Whilst ESO’s telescopes are usually used for the collection of science data, their immense resolving power makes them ideal for capturing images such as this — which are beautiful for their own sake.

Credit:

ESO.
Music: Johan B. Monell (www.johanmonell.com)

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