Galaxy-chasing nebula caught on camera
Dramatic image of 'cometary globule'
The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) has posted the 1000th image on its splendid gallery - a magnificent snap of the "cometary globule CG4" which appears to be about to consume spiral galaxy ESO 257-19:
The image was captured by Travis Rector and Tim Abbott using a "64-megapixel Mosaic imaging camera on the National Science Foundation's Victor M Blanco telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory", as the NAOA blurb explains.
CG4 is a star-forming region in the southern constellation of Puppis lying around 1,300 light years from Earth. The "head" measures roughly 1.5 light years in diameter with a tail stretching eight light years. According to NOAO, the globule packs enough material to form several Sun-sized stars, while its opaque head glows due to illumination by nearby hot stars.
The spiral galaxy which appears to be on the menu is, in fact, 100 million light years further away, and therefore well out of harm's way. ®