It is part of the Chameleon Cloud Complex, considered one of the closest active star-forming regions to our planet.
The European Southern Observatory (ESO, for its acronym in English) published last Monday an image of the bright nebula CI 2631better known as ‘Cloud Chameleon’which is located 522 light years from Earth, in the constellation that bears the same name.
IC 2631 is part of the Chameleon Cloud Complex, considered one of the closest active star-forming regions to our planet. This vast area of clouds of gas and dust is approximately 65 light-years across.
The ESO specialists detailed that the Chameleon Cloud is classified as a reflection nebula, since it is made up of dust clouds that do not shine by themselves, but by the light emitted by nearby stars. They also explained that their main source of illumination is the young star HD 97300which is twice as massive as the Sun.
The recent photograph was captured by the Visible and Infrared Exploration Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), which is located at the Cerro Paranal Observatory in the Chilean city of Antofagasta.
According to the Space.com portal, you can see the IC 2631 nebula being illuminated by the star HD 97300, which is located to the right of the center of the image, surrounded by purple interstellar clouds. The bright areas in the snapshot are clumps of dust and gas, which are illuminated by young, rising stars.
In the optical range, this zone also includes several dark sections where dust completely blocks light from background sources. However, this photograph was taken in infrared light, which allowed scientists to examine the core of the Chameleon Cloud. Lastly, the ESO commented that IC 2631 can be seen in the southern hemisphere for most of the year.
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