This image, released to mark 15 years since first light at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, shows emission nebula IC2944, a cloud of gas and dust in the constellation Centaurus. Dark clots stand out against the red glow of hydrogen lit up by radiation from the many young stars. These clouds of cold dust, called the Thackeray Globules, are Bok globules, suggested by Bart Bok as precursors to stars. While Bok globules may produce stars in quiet environments, these are being fragmented by intense stellar ultraviolet radiation. They are unlikely to survive to form stars.(ESO)
This image is published in the February 2015 issue of Astronomy & Geophysics.