Today in pretty space pics: The active star birthing region Cygnus-X, a chaotic complex of gas and dust in the constellation Cygnus, otherwise known as the Swan. Captured by the far infrared sensors of the ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory, the image gives astronomers a unique view massive star birth perviously unavailable at these wavelengths.
We are all made of stars, and that’s not just a Moby-ism. The stuff of the cosmos is also the stuff of life, so it’s interesting to look at ourselves and then at an image like the one above--a violent star birthing region filled with swirling, super-heated gas and dust--and ponder what possible futures might be spawning there. This newly released image from the ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows in detail the effect that newly minted stars have on the very gas and dust from which they are formed.
Without a telescope, the Lagoon Nebula is faintly visible with the naked eye as a unremarkable patch of gray in the heart of the Milky Way. Observed up close with the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, it looks slightly more nuanced. Hubble recently captured this close-up of gas and dust painted brightly by intense radiation spouting from young stars forming deep in this stellar nursery five thousand light-years away.
This spooky image of a tiny nebula known as IRAS 05437+2502 was recently released by the Hubble Space Telescope, but perhaps even more eerie than the wispy, ghost-like appearance of the little-studied star forming region is the boomerang-like light crowning the nebula. Though the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) first discovered the nebula in 1983, astronomers have no clue what is lighting up this glowing object.