Hot blue stars, red glowing hydrogen gas, and dark, obscuring dust
clouds are strewn through this dramatic region of
the Milky Way in the southern constellation
of Ara (the Altar)
About 4,000 light-years from Earth, the stars at the left are
young, massive, and energetic.
radiation is eating away at the nearby
star forming cloud complex - ionizing the hydrogen gas and producing
red "hydrogen-alpha" glow
. At right, visible within the dark dust nebula, is small cluster of newborn stars.This beautiful color picture
composite of images
blue, green, and hydrogen-alpha filters.
European Southern Observatory