trends in automation - page 48

Thefinal frontier
Since its launch inApril 1990, theHubbleSpaceTelescopehas
beenprovidinguswitha fascinating look into themysterious
depthsof the cosmos. Its infraredportrait of theMonkeyHead
Nebulaon the cover of this issueof trends inautomation isa
mosaic composedofmany individual images. Itwas created to
mark the24thanniversaryofHubble’s launch intoorbit.
The imageshows thebirthof stars,whendarkdust cloudsare
catapulted intoouter space. ThegreatMonkeyHeadNebula–
orNGC2174andSharplessSh2-252 togive it its scientific
names– is formed from red-hot gas. Enormousquantitiesof en-
ergyareproducedover 6,400 light yearsaway. Ultraviolet light
from thebright starshelps carve thedust intogiant pillarsand
bizarreshapes. The radiation ionises themain constituent of
the cloud, hydrogengas. Thehydrogengasheatsupand its in-
terstellar dust particlesbegin toglowat infraredwavelengths.
Photo:©NASA, ESA, and the
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