The new image from the Hubble telescope reveals a giant cosmic “keyhole” in the darkness of space

The reflection nebular NGC 1999 is located approximately 1,350 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Orion and shows an ink-black central “keyhole” in this image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (ESA / Hubble & NASA, K. Noll)

An image just released by the Hubble Space Telescope reveals a smoke-shrouded keyhole among the stars.

The telescope returned the image of a so-called “reflection nebula” of about 1,350 light years in the constellation of Orion. Reflection nebulae are only visible when lit from within, according to a European Space Agency blog post on the image, and in this case a newborn star provides that light.

Known as V380 Orionis, the young star acts like a lamp in a smoke-filled room, lighting up the clouds of gas and dust that wrap around it – these are materials left over from the star’s formation. In the center of the image is an inky black region that looks like a keyhole in a dark room.

According to ESA, when the Hubble telescope first took this image in 1999, it was unclear whether the apparent keyhole was a real hole through the nebular material, or a mass of particularly cold gas and dust. . Subsequent observations from ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory, a space telescope with a more powerful optics than Hubble that flew from 2009 to 2013, confirmed that the keyhole is, in fact, a hole, which provides a view of space on the other side of the nebula.

Scientists still do not understand the origin of the keyhole in the nebula, according to ESA.

The The report from ESA’s Hubble telescope on the social media website Twitter shared the picture of the keyhole on Monday morning.

Although the new James Webb Space Telescope continues to amaze scientists and the public with new space imagery made possible by its incredibly powerful optics, the Hubble Telescope and other space observatories continue their missions, providing scientifically important and sometimes beautiful views of the universe.

Instead of replacing older space telescopes, the Webb telescope often allies with them. The collaboration provides alternative views of cosmic phenomena or allows scientists to create composite images to create a more complete picture of distant objects. Astronomers recently combined the Webb and Hubble data to create stunning images of a pair of distant galaxies, while the Hubble and Webb data were also combined with observations from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to create new depth at some of the first images of the Webb telescope.

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