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Omega Nebula Image From European Southern Observatory (PHOTO)

First Posted: 01/04/12 02:08 PM ET   Updated: 01/04/12 06:55 PM ET

Most of the time, astronomers hog all the breathtaking cosmic beauty in the universe for themselves. It doesn't seem fair. So we were glad to hear that the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has released a new, ultra high-res picture of the Omega Nebula, a pinkish cloud of dust and gas that's thought to have been a fertile breeding ground for stars.

The image was taken at the ESO's Very Large Telescope array in Chile, not far from the future site of the Extremely Large Telescope and the proposed site of the now-defunct Overwhelmingly Large Telescope (see a pattern emerging here?).

The nebula, situated around 6,000 light-years from Earth in the Sagittarius constellation, is also known as the Swan, Checkmark, Lobster or Horseshoe nebula. It couldn't hurt to add one more name to the list, so we suggest calling it Cotton Candy nebula.

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Filed by Travis Korte  |