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Here is a closer look at the complex dust lanes of the Gum nebula (Gum 12), which is an active star forming region located some 450 light-years from Earth in the southern constellations of Vela and Puppis.

Although not much is known about the formation of this massive cloud, which stretches more than 36° in diameter in our sky, astronomers believe a massive supernova explosion enriched the region with materials for star formation — with some help from supernova shockwaves that compress the materials, allowing the clouds to collapse to form new stars. If you look closely in the lower left, you can see an example of this process taking place.

This celestial region also contains several well known nebulae, which include: The Pencil Nebula, NGC 2659, Zeta Pup, Velva Pulsar, Pismis 3 and vDB-Ha 56. All of which, can be seen here, in this wide-field view.


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