Image Credit: Marco Lorenzi

These objects are NGC 6188 and NGC 6164. The first thing you noticed in this picture was probably the nebula NGC 6188.

Located in the constellation Ara, nearly 4,000 light-years away, this particular nebula has a fantastic resemblance to a pair of fighting dragons. I have actually seen it called the “Fighting Dragons of Ara” or the "Fighting Dragon Nebula", but I haven’t seen that name used by any official organization. This nebula resides within the open cluster NGC 6193, which is visible to the naked eye and chiefly responsible for lighting up the contours of the Fighting Dragons.

This is a star-forming nebula, and it is sculpted by the massive, young stars that have recently formed here – some are only a few million years old. This spark of formation was probably caused when the last batch of stars went supernova. In case you’ve missed it, near the bottom right of this image, there is another nebula, NGC 6164. This is a rare emission nebula. This nebula was created when a massive star went supernova.

This image spans about 70 light-years, and at these distances, this massive region appears about the size of two full moons.

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