(editor's note: I'm so happy to report that news of activities happening around our planet continue to intrigue more and more people!
Just a few years ago, "space geeks" were the only ones interested in all the wonderous events of our neighboring planets, stars, and galaxies. Now it seems everyone has their eyes to the skies!
The view from down here is a special vantage point, so I hope you enjoy this report and get a better understanding of how important YOU are to the beautiful Cosmos we all call home.
~All my Love, Boo)
Spectacular Star Cluster a Wing-Span Away from Eagle Nebula
The star cluster NGC 6604 is shown in this new image taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the 2.2-metre MPG/ESO telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is often overlooked in favour of its more prominent neighbour, the Eagle Nebula (also known as Messier 16), that lies a mere wingspan away. But the framing of this picture, which places the star cluster in a landscape of surrounding gas and dust clouds, shows what a beautiful object NGC 6604 is in its own right.
NGC 6604 is the bright grouping towards to the upper left of the image.
Aside from aesthetics, NGC 6604 has other reasons to draw the gaze of astronomers, as it has a strange column of hot ionised gas emanating from it. Similar columns of hot gas, which channel outflowing material from young star clusters, have been found elsewhere in the Milky Way and other spiral galaxies, but the example in NGC 6604 is relatively nearby, allowing astronomers to study it in detail.
This particular column (often referred to by astronomers as a "chimney") is perpendicular to the galactic plane and stretches an incredible 650 light-years in length.