Feather birds can congregate together here on Earth, but our bird friends are also well represented in the night sky as constellations named after winged creatures, both real and imaginary.
Located at 24 million light years of our large blue marble, this stellar configuration is one of the four constellations that are collectively called the Southern Birds. Grus joins a trio of others on the subject of birds constellations known as Peacock, Phoenix (mythical phoenix) and Toucan (toucan) to make this sparkling nest of brilliant star formations.
In a mesmerizing whirlwind of violet-blue, silver-white, and deep red, Hubble’s photographs on NGC 7496 were collected from numerous observations that examined the complex relationship between young stars and the cold, dense gas clouds in which they were born.
In addition to using images from the Hubble 3 Wide Camera and the Advanced Research Camera, NASA and ESA astronomers assigned to the project also collected data using the Atacama Large Millimeter / Submilimeter Array (ALMA), with 66 radio telescopes offering unprecedented views of the stars from its operational base high in the Chilean Atacama Desert.
Discovering more about how fast and efficient stars form in a wide sample of galactic environments is just one of the project’s goals, which also includes strengthening data banks with a steady stream of detailed Hubble and ALMA observations.
This pair of powerful observatories is contributing to a growing wealth of research material on star formation to support further research and support upcoming investigations involving newly developed James Webb Space Telescope.