We are all about Hallowe’en at DIYP, and to celebrate we wanted to share this incredible image of the Bat Nebula. It really does look a lot like a bat, flying through space surrounded by tiny stars.
The image was captured by the RiDK 500 telescope at Observatorio El Sauce, Chile, and processed by Mark Hansen and Mike Selby.
The Bat Nebula is located about 1400 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus. “The rarely imaged LDN 43 is a dark nebula consisting of very dense material which blocks light from background stars,” says Mark.
This 12-light year-long filament of gas and dust is actually a nursery where new stars are born. “Glowing with eerie light,” writes Michelle Thaller on Astronomy Picture of the Day, “the bat is lit up from inside by dense gaseous knots that have just formed young stars.”
It truly is an astounding image, and perfect for enjoying all the spookiness of Hallowe’en. The universe really is full of strange and wonderful things, far beyond our imagination.