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Young Stars Flicker Amidst Clouds of Gas and Dust

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Image credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/IRAM

Image credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/IRAM

Astronomers have spotted young stars in the Orion nebula changing right before their eyes, thanks to the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The colorful specks — developing stars strung across the image — are rapidly heating up and cooling down, speaking to the turbulent, rough-and-tumble process of reaching full stellar adulthood.

The image can be viewed at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/herschel/multimedia/pia13959.html

The rainbow of colors represents different wavelengths of infrared light captured by both Spitzer and Herschel. Spitzer is designed to see shorter infrared wavelengths than Herschel. By combining their observations, astronomers get a more complete picture of star formation. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer mission for NASA, and also plays an important role in the European Space Agency-led Herschel mission.

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-052

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