Many times, scientists, even astronomers, have to find ways of making their work more appealing and more interesting to everyday folks. Sometimes though, they don't need to put in any effort at all.A recent photo taken by the European Southern Observatory's MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope is one of those occasions. It's a visible light photo of a very dark cloud, Lupus 3, some 600 light-years away from Earth. The cloud is some 5 light-years across.
These clouds are the building blocks of stars. Their gravity pulls them closer and closer together, heating up the material in the process. Still, the thick gas and dust makes it hard to see inside them, at least in visible light.
However, as the heat builds up and stars begin to form, the radiation they create pushes the material away eventually revealing the young stars to the naked eye, helped by a very powerful telescope of course.
In fact, the two stars in the image are bright enough that you can see them with a regular telescope, maybe even with binoculars on a very clear night, as long as you know where to look.