TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: NASA Telescope Gets Image of Young Stars

NASA Telescope Gets Image of Young Stars

Associated Press News Wire (
Wed, 9 Nov 2005 22:26:00 -0600

A dazzling photo taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows
colossal pillars of cool gas and dust, giving scientists an intimate
look at the star-forming process.

The image released Wednesday shows the columns stretching out like
fingers similar to an iconic photo taken of the Eagle Nebula by the
Hubble Space Telescope in 1995. While the Hubble visible-light image
was dubbed "Pillars of Creation," NASA describes the Spitzer infrared
image as "cosmic mountains of creation."

The image reflects a region in space known as W5, in the constellation
Cassiopeia 7,000 light years away, which is dominated by a single
massive star.

The largest pillars -- formed by radiation and winds from hot, massive
stars -- contain hundreds of newborn stars.

"We believe that the star clusters lighting up the tips of the pillars
are essentially the offspring of the region's single, massive star,"
Lori Allen of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said in
a statement.

Spitzer was able to spy the stars being born inside the pillars
because of its infrared capability. A visible light telescope would
see the same region as dark columns outlined by specks of light.

Scientists believe the pillars eventually become dense enough to give
rise to a second generation of stars, which may in turn, trigger
successive generations.

On the Net:

Spitzer Space Telescope:

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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