Stunning New View of Cat's Paw Stellar Kittens

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The Cat's Paw Nebula (NGC 6334) is located approximately 5,500 light-years from Earth and is known to be an active star-forming region -- the glow of which has been captured in stunning detail by a newly commissioned instrument on the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, or APEX, telescope.

The instrument, called ArTeMiS, is a wide-field sub-millimeter-wavelength camera that is sensitive to the cool glow from the interstellar dust grains inside the nebula. In this image, the ArTeMiS observation (orange) has been superimposed over the top of an infrared VISTA telescope observation of the same region. Both APEX and VISTA are managed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

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The recently commissioned ArTeMiS instrument was installed by a team of engineers who had to battle extreme weather conditions on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Atacama Desert, Chile, that saw the APEX control building almost buried in snow.

The effort was worth it, as this stunning new view of the Cat's Paw Nebula shows.

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