hobys_rosette_05 This is a wonderful infrared image (please click on it for lovely larger view) of a region of star formation called the Rosette Nebula.

It comes from the Herschel space observatory, which was launched (along with the Planck observer) by the European Space Agency (ESA) almost a year ago, you may recall.

From the ESA website, here’s a bit more about what this is:

The Rosette Nebula resides some 5000 light-years from Earth and is associated with a larger cloud that contains enough dust and gas to make the equivalent of 10 000 Sun-like stars. The Herschel image shows half of the nebula and most of the Rosette cloud. The massive stars powering the nebula lie to the right of the image but are invisible at these wavelengths. Each colour represents a different temperature of dust, from –263ºC (only 10ºC above absolute zero) in the red emission to –233ºC in the blue.

The bright smudges are dusty cocoons hiding massive protostars. These will eventually become stars containing around ten times the mass of the Sun. The small spots near the centre and in the redder regions of the image are lower mass protostars, similar in mass to the Sun. […]

Read further about how the image (made from wavelengths that our eyes cannot see) was made, and more.


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