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02/20/2013

'Cosmic lobster' is a solar nursery: Pretty space picture

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The European Southern Observatory released this infrared-view image of hot young stars in the Scorpion constellation today. (ESO)

Space agencies, for whatever reason, are really good at cranking out the kind of plump news morsels that journalists eat for breakfast. Non-space scientists -- and space scientists who work for the lesser-funded agencies -- grumble about it. But who can blame them? If you've got a cosmic nursery, and you've got a pretty picture of it, work it, girl.

Today the European Southern Observatory released this picture of a star-nursery in a constellation called Scorpion 8,000 light years from Earth. It was captured in infrared by their VISTA telescope in Chile. This star-producing region, NGC 6357, is sometimes nicknamed the "lobster nebula."

The VISTA telescope is scanning the Milky Way to learn more about the origins and make up of our galaxy.

Kate Allen is the Star's science and technology reporter. Follow her on Twitter: @katecallen

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