Coronet: A Star Formation Neighbor

September 13, 2007
Coronet: A Star Formation Neighbor
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/J. Forbrich; Infrared: NASA/Spitzer/CfA/L. Allen

While perhaps not quite as well known as its star formation cousin of Orion, the Corona Australis region (containing, at its heart, the Coronet Cluster) is one of the nearest and most active regions of ongoing star formation.

At only about 420 light years away, the Coronet is over three times closer than the Orion Nebula is to Earth. The Coronet contains a loose cluster of a few dozen young stars with a wide range of masses and at various stages of evolution, giving astronomers an opportunity to observe "protostars" simultaneously in several wavelengths.

This composite image shows the Coronet in X-rays from Chandra (purple) and infrared emission from Spitzer (orange, green, and cyan). The Spitzer image shows young stars plus diffuse emission from dust. In the Chandra data only (see inset), many of these young stars appear as blue objects, revealing their output of high-energy X-rays and the amount of obscuring dust and gas in the region.

The reason for the blue appearance is that lower energy X-rays, which are depicted as red and green, are absorbed by this veil of material and hence are not seen.

The Chandra data also support the idea that X-rays from very young stars are generated largely from magnetic activity in the outer atmospheres. Due to the host of young stars in different life stages in the Coronet, astronomers can use these data to pinpoint details of how the youngest stars evolve.

Source: NASA

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

July 29, 2015

The coalescence of two black holes—a very violent and exotic event—is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.