Observatory captures stunning images of star clusters

The La Silla Observatory in Chile has captured this dramatic image showing two intense star formations in the Milky Way galaxy.

The cluster of stars on the left of the image is known NGC 3603 and is located 20,000 light years away.

Two star formations in the Milky Way captured by the La Silla Observatory in Chile Credit: ESO/G. Beccari

The region of glowing gas clouds on the right of the image appears to be next to the cluster, but is in fact only 9,000 light years away.

The gas clouds have two distinctive curves, like the horns of a ram, caused by "stellar winds from the hot, young stars within the central regions of the nebula, which have blown the dust and gas outwards across a hundred light-years".

The region around the cosmic factory NGC 3603, located about 20,000 light-years away Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

The European Southern Observatory, which is supported by 15 European countries, operates three large observing sites in Chile.