Known to astronomers as NGC 6357, the Lobster Nebula lies 8,000 light years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius.
This image from ESO’s VISTA telescope captures a celestial landscape of vast, glowing clouds of gas and tendrils of dust surrounding hot young stars.
This infrared view reveals the stellar nursery known as NGC 6357
The nebula is home to the Pismis-24 star cluster, which contains some of the most massive stars in the Milky Way.
“One of the bright young stars in NGC 6357, known as Pismis 24-1, was thought to be the most massive star known — until it was found to actually be made up of at least three huge bright stars, each with a mass of under 100 times that of our sun,” ESO officials said in the image description. “Even so, these stars are still heavyweights — some of the most massive in our Milky Way. Pismis 24-1 is the brightest object in the Pismis 24 star cluster, a bunch of stars that are all thought to have formed at the same time within NGC 6357.”
That cluster of stars is called Pismis 24, and the brightest star in it is called Pismis 24-1. Astronomers were shocked to find it has a mass over 200 times that of the Sun!