Space Pirates Take Warning: This ‚Skull and Crossbones Nebula‘ Is Full of Gas and Baby Stars

Avast, mateys! The Skull and Crossbones Nebula, in the constellation Puppis (or „poop deck“) has two terrifying eyes peering out of a skeletal face in space. Credit: ESO
Avast, mateys! Unsheathe your spyglasses and train them on the southern skies. There sails a star-forging nebula on the horizon, and it’s flying the Jolly Roger from its stellar sails!

By Brandon Specktor |

Ahem Enough of that. The point is, a cluster of stars out there called NGC 2467 looks like an awesome skeletal nightmare mask in the sky — hence its nickname, the „Skull and Crossbones Nebula.“ Today, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) released a new photo of the nebula’s shrieking „mouth“ spitting fresh stars across the cosmic sea.

Keeping with the high-seas theme, the Skull and Crossbones nebula lives in the constellation Puppis, or „the poop deck,“ near the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way. It’s located a few tens of thousands of light-years away from Earth.

The nebula is thought to consist of several young star clusters that have been around for only 1 million or 2 million years at most, and it’s an active stellar nursery for new star formation, according to the ESO. For this reason, scientists interested in the birth of fresh stars have occasionally studied nebula NGC 2467. [11 Fascinating Facts About Our Milky Way Galaxy]

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