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A mosaic Image of IC 29244, IC 2948, Ced 116, Ced 117 and RCW 60

Description of object:

The emission nebula IC 2944 is a magnificent scenery of the southern sky. IC 2944 also has the name Gum 42, the number from Colin Gum's catalogue of southern H-II regions. Its distance to the solar system is about 6500 light years. The bright star ? Centauri does not contribute to the ionization of the nebula, it is only directly in the line of sight to the nebular region, the distance to the solar system is only 430 light years. In the English-speaking world, the nebular complex is nicknamed "running chicken", although it is difficult to see a "running chicken" in the nebular form. The Lambda Centauri Nebula was discovered on 5 May 1904 by Royal Harwood Frost.

The large star formation area is a remarkable H-II region. Inside the nebula are at least 9 extremely hot blue stars of spectral type O with magnitudes ranging from 6.5 to 9. The brightest of these stars is HD 101205, a double star, maybe even a multiple star. In addition, there are many more stars of spectral type B, which help to ionize the hydrogen gas. The radiation from these many blue stars creates reflection nebulae that overlay the red H-alpha emission. All internal stars in IC 2944 belong to the open star cluster IC 2948.

West of IC 2944 (right in our image) is the large emission nebula complex RCW 60, including IC 2872, Ced 115, Ced 116, and GN Southwest (bottom in the image) is the H-II region Ced 117, and north is the very faint reflection nebula GN 11.27.0 and the large open star cluster Ruprecht 94.

At the core of the nebula complex are some dark Bok globules, in this case called Tackerey globules after their discoverer, in which new stars are formed. A detailed view of these globules is shown here

From the region of IC 2944/2048 we also have a narrow band image, taken with AstroDon filters with a half-width of 3 nm. This images is shown here. Images of the globules from ESO here and from the Hubble Space Telescope here.

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