Typically, those celebrating a birthday or anniversary are the ones to receive gifts. Still, the European Southern Observatory has shared a gift with space enthusiasts — a fantastic photo of the Cone Nebula.
The ESO was created in October 1962 when five countries signed an agreement to work together to study space. That group has grown to 16 member states and strategic partners working together across the world to build and operate ground-based observatories in Chile.
The ESO has marked the occasion of its 60th anniversary with a new image of the Cone Nebula that was captured this year by one of the ESO’s telescopes.
The image was selected by the organization’s staff and was released in conjunction with local events held by ESO member states and countries.
To find an event, visit ESO’s website.
In the image, you can see the seven-light-year-long pillar of the nebula, which is part of the star-forming region NGC 2264 and located in the constellation Monoceros, aka The Unicorn.
The cone was discovered by the astronomer William Herschel in the late 18th century and the new image shows a dark, cloudy appearance that makes it look like a creature from another world or time.
CNET likened it to something that “wants to consume your soul,” such as a Dementor from the “Harry Potter” series.
The nebula is relatively close to Earth — 2500 light-years away.
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