The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), on February 10, 2021, showcased the stunning photo of the Coalsack Nebula as its image of the day. Captured in the out-of-this-world image is “a small region on the edge of the inky Coalsack Nebula or Caldwell 99,” stated the space administration.
Caldwell 99 is considered a dark nebula. A dark nebula as described by NASA is “a dense cloud of interstellar dust that completely blocks out visible wavelengths of light from objects behind it.”
The object located at the center of the image, on the other hand, is a much smaller protoplanetary nebula. The protoplanetary nebula phase, according to the space administration, is a late stage in the life of a star.
Furthermore, NASA also made mention how prominent Caldwell 99 is in the southern night sky. Although located approximately 600 light-years from Earth, the space administration stated that “on a clear night, it can be spotted easily with the naked eye as a dark patch, void of stars, next to the Southern Cross in the constellation Crux.”
Caldwell 99 is the easiest to spot in the Southern Hemisphere during the autumn. Observers at the Northern Hemisphere, on the other hand, may look for the object in the springtime while positioned near the equator.
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