REACHING 8,000 light years away from Earth, the Lobster Nebula radiates a bright red glow in space and remains mysterious to some of the world’s top scientists.
On Tuesday, NASA highlighted the nebula – formally cataloged as NGC 6357 – as the “Astronomy Picture of the Day.”
The stunning image shows the approximately 400 light years wide cloud of dust and gas, with forming stars and bright newly born stars sprinkled throughout its red hue.
NASA has said this color is the result of ionized hydrogen gas emissions.
The Lobster Nebula is home to some of the “most massive” stars known, including those in the Pismis 24 cluster.
However, scientists remained puzzled as to why the nebula is forming them.
In 2018, a group of scientists with the Astronomical Society of Japan theorized that two clouds in two regions of the nebula collided together and “triggered the formation” of a group of mini-starbursts.
The Lobster Nebula spans approximately 400 light years across and its bright red hue is the result of ionized hydrogen gas emissions, according to NASA.
The photo released Tuesday shows several intricate patterns caused by interactions between interstellar winds, radiation pressures, magnetic fields and gravity.
The image was taken with the Department of Energy’s Dark Energy Camera using the 13-feet Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.
As of last month, the camera had taken more than one million exposures of the southern sky, capturing approximately 2.5 billion objects like galaxies, clusters, stars, comets, asteroids, dwarf planets and more.
It was originally built to investigate dark energy, according to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
In the years that followed, scientists have been able to use the camera for other astronomical observations and surveys.