Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Crown Australis under Namibian skies

Shadows are no less important than light

 'What a mess, what a medieval mess,' Merlin would say.  In this image of devastating beauty, clouds of cosmic dust dance with young stars less than 500 light-years away, at the edge of the northern boundary of the Crown Australis.

 Clouds, dense and frosted, block the light coming from the background stars beyond the Milky Way, creating a haunted glow.

The complex of reflection nebulae cataloged as NGC 6726, 6727 and IC 4812 forms a strong and nervous picture, where the blue brushstrokes drown in the gray smoke of the dust, as if the light of the young hot stars drowns inside A sea plumbe in a storm , reflecting in cosmic dust.

 However, as always, darkness can only be revealed through light.  In the field, nebula NGC 6729 embraces the young variable star R Coronae Australis, while arcs and luminous rings illuminate the gas vexed by shock waves emanating from the exits of the newborn star identified as a Herbig-Haro object.  It looks like a giant hand made of gas trying to crush a firefly, but the glow it emanates, tray of light, cannot be confined by any side of darkness.  As Francis of Assisi said, all the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.

 Figure 1: Coroa Australis under the dark Namibian sky.  Credits: Mario Cogo.

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