A stunning image of a cone nebula in deep space has left the astronomers in shock. The image shows a strange figure in the vast universe that appears to be staring at us. The image has been released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The nebula is seven light years long and looks like a lighthouse in the infinite space. The photo was clicked by the ESO's Very Large Telescope to celebrate its 60th anniversary. The cone nebula is part of a larger complex 2,500 light years away called NGC 2264, according to a report in Science Alert.
NGC 2264 is located in constellation Monoceros, according to the outlet.
Unlike other nebulae, which glow brightly with a complex array of colours, this one is made up of thick dust that absorbs light.
This dark feature gives the nebula an eerie appearance of a human-like figure.
"Its pillar-like appearance is a perfect example of the shapes that can develop in giant clouds of cold molecular gas and dust, known for creating new stars," the ESO said in the caption while sharing the photo.
What is cone nebula?
According to American space agency NASA, it resembles a nightmarish beast rearing its head from the dark sea called space.
It is called cone nebula because of its conical shape in images.
Radiation from hot, young stars slowly erode the nebula over millions of years. Ultraviolet light heats the edges of the dark cloud, releasing gas into the relatively empty region of surrounding space, thus creating this figure, said the space agency.