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NGC2467
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This image shows the area surrounding the magnitude 7.1 stellar cluster NGC 2467, located in the southern constellation of Puppis (The Stern). With an age of a few million years at most, it is a very active stellar nursery, where new stars are born continuously from large clouds of dust and gas.


Position(2000): RA = 07h 52m 30.0s Dec = -26 26' 00"
The image contains the open clusters Haffner 18 (centre) and Haffner 19 (middle right, located inside the smaller pink region), as well as vast areas of ionised gas.
The bright star at the centre of the largest pink region on the bottom of the image is HD 64315, a massive young star that is helping shaping the structure of the whole nebular region.
The photo was taken with the Wide-Field Imager camera at the 2.2m MPG/ESO telescope located at La Silla, in Chile. NGC 2467 is also sometimes referred as the "Skull and Crossbones".



This image is of the central part of area. It was obtained with the FORS2 instrument at ESO's Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal, also in Chile.
It shows the open stellar cluster Haffner 18, and perfectly illustrates the three different stages of this process of star formation:
In the centre of the picture, Haffner 18, a group of mature stars that have already dispersed their birth nebulae, represents the completed product or immediate past of the star formation process.
Located at the bottom left of this cluster, a very young star, just come into existence and, still surrounded by its birth cocoon of gas, provides insight into the very present of star birth.
Finally, the dust clouds towards the right corner of the image are active stellar nurseries that will produce more new stars in the future.

Haffner 18 contains about 50 stars, among which several short lived, massive ones. The massive star still surrounded by a small, dense shell of hydrogen, has the rather cryptic name of FM3060a. The shell is about 2.5 light-years wide and expands at a speed of 20 km/s. It must have been created some 40,000 years ago.
The cluster is between 25,000 and 30,000 light-years away.

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