Dramatic new pictures of the Milky Way's 'star factories'
This image, captured by the Wide Field Imager at European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile, shows two dramatic star formation regions in the southern Milky Way. The first is of these, on the left, is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located 20,000 light-years away, in the Carina–Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The second object, on the right, is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576 that lies only about half as far from Earth. (Click on image to expand) [Image: ESO][/caption]
The image above of two of the large star forming regions in our galaxy is the latest release from the European Southern Observatory, the premier intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe.
It is based in Garching near Munich, Germany, but operates in Santiago and three observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor.
The ESO regularly releases stunning images of the night skies in the Southern Hemisphere. We've picked out 10 of our favourites from previous releases in the gallery below.