The universe is an amazingly beautiful place. Although to the unaided eye it appears mostly black with a sprinkle of stars and perhaps a foggy band of the Milky Way, photography reveals the true colours and dynamics of space. The glowing clouds of gas, dark streaks of interstellar dust, cosmic landscapes sculpted by stellar wind and supernova shockwaves, all this and much more becomes visible thanks to modern technology.
One such beautiful vista is the nebula NGC 6188, featured in the Astronomy Picture of the Day for Dec 28 2012: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap121228.html
This emission is found near the edge of a
large molecular cloud unseen at visible wavelengths, in the southern constellation Ara.
Massive, young stars
were formed in that region only a few million years ago, sculpting the dark shapes and
powering the nebular glow with
stellar winds and intense ultraviolet radiation.
The recent star formation itself was likely triggered by
winds and supernova explosions, from previous generations of massive
stars, that swept up and compressed the molecular gas.