Cat's Paw Nebula
The Cat's Paw nebula, also known as NGC 6334, is one of the most prolific star factories in the Milky Way.
The newly installed ArTeMis camera on the APEX telescope delivers this stunning near-infrared view of NGC 6334, a swirling mix of gas and dust seen from Chile's Atacama Desert.
Located in the southern constellation Scorpius, the Cat's Paw lies some 5,500 light-years from Earth and spans 50 light-years across, covering the same amount of nighttime sky as the full moon.
After giving birth to tens of thousands of newborn stars over its lifetime, the nebula now swaddles and hides from view at least 2,000 young stars—newborns hidden amid clouds of dust grains seen shining in orange-brown hues—still waiting to emerge and drift away into space.
Best Space Photos of the Week: Cat's Paw, Solar Horns, Martian Ripples
See views of Mars, the Earth, and the Sun, as well as a star-factory nebula, in this week's space photos.