Astronomers capture image of a globule nicknamed “Hand of God”

About 1,300 light years away, in the Puppis constellation, a ghostly hand appears to emerge from the interstellar medium and extend into the cosmos.

This nebulous and sinister structure is CG 4, a cometary globule that has been given the nickname “The hand of God”. CG 4 is one of the many cometary globules present in the Milky Way, and How these objects acquire their distinctive shape remains a topic of debate among astronomers.

Cometary globules are a subclass of dark nebulae known as Bok globules: Isolated clouds of dense cosmic gas and dust surrounded by hot ionized material.

When these clouds exhibit shedding of material that results in an extended tail, They are known as cometary globules because of their vague resemblance to a comet.although they have nothing in common.

The features that classify CG 4 as a cometary globule are hard to miss in this image captured with the Department of Energy’s Dark Energy Camera (DECam) mounted on the Foundation’s Victor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope. US National Science. in Cerro Tololo.

His dusty head, which has a diameter of 1.5 light years, and its long, wispy tail, which measures about eight light years long, make CG 4 a comparatively small Bok globule, a general characteristic of cometary globules.

Details of the image captured from the observatory on Cerro Tololo.

First recognized in 1976 from photographs taken with the United Kingdom’s Schmidt Telescope in Australia, Cometary globules went unnoticed by astronomers for a long time because they are so faint..

Their tails, wrapped in dark stardust, block most of the light from passing through. But with its special Hydrogen-alpha filter, DECam can capture the faint red glow of ionized hydrogen present inside CG 4’s head and around its outer edge. This light is produced when hydrogen is excited after being bombarded by radiation from nearby hot, massive stars.

However, the intense radiation generated by these neighboring massive stars gradually destroys the head of the globule and sweeps away the tiny particles that scatter the starlight. Still, CG 4’s dust cloud contains enough gas to fuel the active formation of several new Sun-sized stars.

While astronomers have observed these structures throughout the Milky Way, the vast majority of them, including CG 4, are located within a huge patch of glowing gas called Rubber Nebula.

They are believed to be the expanding remains of a supernova that occurred about a million years agoand is currently known to contain at least 31 cometary globules in addition to CG 4.

The mechanism by which these comet-like objects acquire their distinctive shape is not fully understood., but astronomers have developed two main ideas about its origins. The first idea is that they might originally have been spherical nebulae, like the well-known Ring Nebula, which were then disrupted by a nearby supernova explosion, possibly the original explosion that created the Rubber Nebula.

The second idea is that cometary blood cells They are formed by a combination of stellar winds and radiation pressure of nearby hot, massive stars.

In fact, all cometary globules found within the Gum Nebula They appear to have tails that point away from the center of the nebula, which is where the Vela Supernova Remnant and the Vela pulsar are located.

The Vela pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star and that it formed when a massive star collapsed, and its stellar winds and radiation pressure may be shaping nearby globules.

Also in this image it looks as if CG 4 is about to devour the spiral galaxy ESO 257-19 (PGC 21338), which seems so defenseless against it. But actually, This galaxy is more than a hundred million light years beyond CG 4 and only appears to be close due to a chance alignment.

 
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