RCW 120 is an H II emission nebula in the southern Milky Way and located some 4,300 light-years from Earth.
This image reveals how an expanding bubble of ionised gas about ten light-years across is causing the surrounding material to collapse into dense clumps where new stars are then formed.
The 870-micron submillimeter-wavelength data were taken with the LABOCA camera on the 12-m Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope. Here, the submillimeter emission is shown as the blue clouds surrounding the reddish glow of the ionised gas (shown with data from the SuperCosmos H-alpha survey). The image also contains data from the Second Generation Digitized Sky Survey (I-band shown in blue, R-band shown in red).
Credit: ESO/APEX/DSS2/ SuperCosmos/ Deharveng(LAM)/ Zavagno(LAM)