Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

Valentine Rose

Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

Bright, young stars form a rosebud-shaped nebula in this image from NASA‘s Spitzer Space Telescope known as NGC 7129. In this Valentine’s Day image, thousands of stars are being formed in this dense cloud of gas and dust. Most stars, including our Sun, are thought to have formed in such clouds. Spitzer’s infrared camera allows us to peer inside this cloud.

Explore this chaotic stellar nursery. Within the past million years, the new stars’ torrent of high-speed stellar winds have blown a bubble in the nebula, releasing them from their dusty cocoons. These stars also unleash searing ultraviolet radiation. This ultraviolet radiation heats and excites the cloud and causes it to glow with a rose-colored light. Astronomers believe that the reddish color comes from a rich source of hydrocarbons in the cloud. Below the petals of the nebula, three stars cause an area rich in carbon monoxide to glow green.

Not all stars are forming in the larger nebula. Two outlying, smaller nebula are also forming a few young stars.

NGC 7129 is located in the constellation of Cepheus, the King, about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

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The ancient peoples saw pictures in the sky. From those patterns in the heavens, ancient storytellers created legends about heroes, maidens, dragons, bears, centaurs, dogs and mythical creatures...
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