The Thackeray globules are silhouetted against the pale pink glowing gas of the nebula IC 2944 in this image obtained by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. Credit: ESO
IC 2944, also called the Running Chicken Nebula or Lambda Centauri Nebula, lies in the constellation Centaurus about 6,500 light-years from Earth. The Thackeray globules are silhouetted against the pale pink glowing gas of the nebula. They are under fierce bombardment from the ultraviolet radiation from nearby hot young stars and are both being eroded away and also fragmenting, rather like lumps of butter dropped onto a hot frying pan. It is likely that Thackeray’s globules will be destroyed before they can collapse and form new stars.