Space Image: Disappearing Act

Mar 23, 2011
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- This swirling landscape of stars is known as the North America Nebula. In visible light, the region resembles North America, but in this new infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the continent disappears.

Where did the continent go? The reason you don't see it in Spitzer's view is due, in part, to the fact that can penetrate dust whereas visible light cannot. Dusty, dark clouds in the visible image become transparent in Spitzer's view. In addition, Spitzer's infrared detectors pick up the glow of dusty cocoons enveloping baby stars.

Clusters of young stars (about one million years old) can be found throughout the image. Slightly older but still very (about 3-5 million years) are also liberally scattered across the complex. Some areas of this nebula are still very thick with dust and a

Explore further: POLARBEAR detects curls in the universe's oldest light

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Orion in a New Ligh (w/ Video)

Feb 10, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Orion Nebula reveals many of its hidden secrets in a dramatic image taken by ESO’s new VISTA survey telescope. The telescope’s huge field of view can show the full splendour of the ...

Amazing Andromeda Galaxy

Oct 03, 2006

The many "personalities" of our great galactic neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, are exposed in this new composite image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Recommended for you

Big black holes can block new stars

9 hours ago

Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.

POLARBEAR seeks cosmic answers in microwave polarization

9 hours ago

An international team of physicists has measured a subtle characteristic in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation that will allow them to map the large-scale structure of the universe, ...

New radio telescope ready to probe

12 hours ago

Whirring back and forth on a turning turret, the white, 40-foot dish evokes the aura of movies such as "Golden Eye" or "Contact," but the University of Arizona team of scientists and engineers that commissioned ...

Exomoons Could Be Abundant Sources Of Habitability

Oct 20, 2014

With about 4,000 planet candidates from the Kepler Space Telescope data to analyze so far, astronomers are busy trying to figure out questions about habitability. What size planet could host life? How far ...

Partial solar eclipse over the U.S. on Thursday, Oct. 23

Oct 17, 2014

People in most of the continental United States will be in the shadow of the Moon on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 23, as a partial solar eclipse sweeps across the Earth. For people looking through sun-safe filters, from Los Angeles, ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
5 / 5 (1) Mar 23, 2011
A visible/infrared comparison would have been nice.
yyz
not rated yet Mar 24, 2011
rwinners, totally agree.

I've spent a considerable amount of personal time imaging and visually observing the North American-Pelican Nebula complex, and it is indeed a stunning region of the Cygnus Milky Way (visible to the naked eye, too, given proper conditions).

Here's a couple of Vis-IR comparison images:

http://www.spitze..._Lrg.jpg

http://www.spitze..._Lrg.jpg