LUKE DODD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LUKE DODD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The Milky Way in the constellation of Scorpius. This area of the Milky Way (running from top left to bottom centre) is characterised by several emission (red/pink patches) and dark nebulae seen silhouetted against areas with high star density. Emission nebulae are clouds of gas, mainly hydrogen, ionised and lit up by nearby young and hot stars. Dark nebulae are formed by clouds of interstellar dust which scatter and absorb the radiation emitted by stars embedded in them. The brightest star at upper centre right is Antares, a red giant star at a distance of about 520 light years from the Earth and with a diameter 700 times larger than the diameter of the Sun.
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