The picture of the cloud, known as Lupus 3 and located 600 light-years from Earth, was taken with a telescope at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla facility in Chile and is the best image ever taken in visible light of the little-known object, a release from the ESO's Munich headquarters said.
The image reveals both a dark column resembling a cloud of smoke and a small group of brilliant stars that have emerged from the dusty stellar nursery, one of the closest to the sun.
It is likely the sun formed in a similar star formation region more than 4 billion years ago, astronomers said. The stars in the image of Lupus E are probably less than 1 million years old, they said.
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