Baby stars in the Rosette cloud

April 12, 2010
This is an infrared image of the Rosette molecular cloud. Herschel collects the infrared light given out by dust and this image is a three-color composite made of wavelengths at 70 microns (blue), 160 microns (green) and 250 microns (red). It was made with observations from Herschel's Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer and the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver. The bright smudges are dusty cocoons containing massive protostars. The small spots near the centre of the image are lower mass protostars. Credit: ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortium/HOBYS Key Programme Consortia

Herschel's latest image reveals the formation of previously unseen large stars, each one up to ten times the mass of our Sun. These are the stars that will influence where and how the next generation of stars are formed. The image is a new release of 'OSHI', ESA's Online Showcase of Herschel Images.

The Rosette Nebula resides some 5,000 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 image shows half of the nebula and most of the Rosette cloud. The 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 ) 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.

ESA's Herschel space observatory collects the infrared light given out by dust. This image is a combination of three , colour-coded blue, green and red in the image, though in reality the wavelengths are invisible to our eyes. It was created using observations from Herschel's Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) and the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE).

Herschel is showing astronomers such young, massive protostars for the first time, as part of the 'Herschel imaging survey of OB Young Stellar objects'. Known as HOBYS, the survey targets young OB class stars, which will become the hottest and brightest stars.

"High-mass star-forming regions are rare and further away than low-mass ones," says Frédérique Motte, Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, France. So astronomers have had to wait for a space telescope like Herschel to reveal them.

It is important to understand the formation of high-mass stars in our Galaxy because they feed so much light and other forms of energy into their parent cloud they can often trigger the formation of the next generation of stars.

When astronomers look at distant galaxies, the star-forming regions they see are the bright, massive ones. Thus, if they want to compare our Galaxy to distant ones they must first understand high-mass star-formation here.

"Herschel will look at many other high-mass star-forming regions, some of them building stars up to a hundred times the mass of the Sun," says Dr Motte, who plans to present the first scientific results from HOBYS at ESA's annual ESLAB symposium to be held in the Netherlands, 4-7 May.

Explore further: Spitzer Unveils Infant Stars in the Christmas Tree Cluster

Related Stories

Spitzer Unveils Infant Stars in the Christmas Tree Cluster

December 22, 2005

Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have given the world a spectacular new picture of a star-forming region called the "Christmas Tree Cluster," complete with first-ever views of a group of newborn stars still ...

AKARI's view on birth and death of stars

August 28, 2006

AKARI, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) infrared astronomical satellite with ESA participation, is continuing its survey of the sky and its mapping of our cosmos in infrared light. New exciting images recently ...

Celestial Season's Greetings from Hubble

December 19, 2006

Swirls of gas and dust reside in this ethereal-looking region of star formation imaged by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. This majestic view, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), reveals a region where low-mass, infant ...

An X-Ray Santa Claus in Orion

November 30, 2007

Right in time for the festive season, ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has discovered a huge cloud of high-temperature gas resting in a spectacular nearby star-forming region, shaped somewhat like the silhouette of Santa ...

Inside the dark heart of the Eagle

December 16, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Herschel has peered inside an unseen stellar nursery and revealed surprising amounts of activity. Some 700 newly-forming stars are estimated to be crowded into filaments of dust stretching through the image. ...

On the Trail of a Cosmic Cat (w/ Video)

January 20, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- ESO has just released a stunning new image of the vast cloud known as the Cat’s Paw Nebula or NGC 6334. This complex region of gas and dust, where numerous massive stars are born, lies near the heart of ...

Recommended for you

Ceres image: The lonely mountain

August 25, 2015

NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers).

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Dawn spacecraft sends sharper scenes from Ceres

August 25, 2015

The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

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.