ESA / HUBBLE (M. KORNMESSER), ESO (L. L. CHRISTENSEN) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ESA / HUBBLE (M. KORNMESSER), ESO (L. L. CHRISTENSEN) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The Monkey Head Nebula (also known as NGC 2174) is a star-forming region in which bright, newborn stars near the center of the nebula illuminate the surrounding gas with energetic radiation. This radiation, along with strong stellar winds, erodes away the lower density gas. Pockets of higher density gas resist this erosion, and form pillars along the inner edge of the roughly circular cloud. This video shows visible and infrared light views of a collection of pillars along one edge of the nebula. The sequence begins with a view of the night sky near the constellation of Gemini and Orion. The view zooms through observations from the Digitized Sky Survey 2 to reveal a Hubble Space Telescope visible light view of the top of the pillars. A cross-fade transitions not only between Hubble's visible and infrared light views, but also from a two-dimensional image to a three-dimensional sculpted model of the region. The camera then pulls back to reveal the landscape of evaporating peaks of gas and dust surrounded by stars. This visualization is intended to be a reasonable interpretation (not scientifically accurate); distances within the model are significantly compressed.
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