Stunning Image of Lobster Nebula Captured by Chilean Telescope

​Lobster Nebula -(Image credit CTIO-NOIRLab-DOE-NSF-AURA)

While surveying the universe for dark energy, a telescope took the most detailed image of the Lobster Nebula ever, and it’s beautiful.

Located 8,000 light years away in a star forming region of the constellation Scorpius, the image was released on the 12th of September, and measures 400 light years across.

Bright young stars are scattered across the region surrounded by quilts of gas and dust, while at the bright center is an open star cluster, which is a very tightly packed group of very young, and very massive stars.

“Interstellar winds, galactic radiation, and powerful magnetic fields batter the nebula, squeezing the gas and dust inside into twisting streams and braids,” writes’s Tereza Pultarova.

The image was actually taken in search of that which cannot be imaged—dark energy. The Dark Energy Camera is a device mounted atop the Víctor M. Blanco Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, and was designed to search for dark energy as part of an international project called the Dark Energy Survey.

The cousin to dark matter, dark energy is another force in the universe which we’ve not discovered any way of measuring other than through its effects on observable matter.

Dark energy is thought to make up most of the matter in the universe, and be responsible for the universe’s continuous and accelerating expansion. This is partly due to calculations made based on its observable effects on visible matter.

Dark matter on the other hand is believed to be a force that keeps the universe from expanding even faster, and used to be the reason that the universe was much smaller than it is today, based again on calculations of its effect in a given environment.

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The final image here of the Lobster Nebula consists of multiple exposure levels layered on top of each other through different filters. This is more or less what the Nebula would look like with the naked eye if it were much brighter than it actually is.

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