Pic of the Week: The Cat’s Paw Nebula

Image (Credit): The Cat’s Paw Nebula. (Stefan Steve Bemmerl & Team Wolfatorium, Hakos/Namibia)

This week’s image is from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day website. It was the picture of the day for May 10, 2022. This is the story that goes with the image:

Nebulas are perhaps as famous for being identified with familiar shapes as perhaps cats are for getting into trouble. Still, no known cat could have created the vast Cat’s Paw Nebula visible toward the constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius). At 5,500 light years distant, Cat’s Paw is an emission nebula with a red color that originates from an abundance of ionized hydrogen atoms. Alternatively known as the Bear Claw Nebula and cataloged as NGC 6334, stars nearly ten times the mass of our Sun have been born there in only the past few million years. Pictured here is a deep field image of the Cat’s Paw Nebula in light emitted by hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur.