Star Cluster Cygnus OB2 (NASA, Chandra, 11/07/12)

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    The Milky Way and other galaxies in the universe harbor many young star clusters and associations that each contain hundreds to thousands of hot, massive, young stars known as O and B stars. The star cluster Cygnus OB2 contains more than 60 O-type stars and about a thousand B-type stars. Deep observations with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have been used to detect the X-ray emission from the hot outer atmospheres, or coronas, of young stars in the cluster and to probe how these fascinating star factories form and evolve. About 1,700 X-ray sources were detected, including about 1,450 thought to be stars in the cluster. In this image, X-rays from Chandra (blue) have been combined with infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope (red) and optical data from the Isaac Newton Telescope (orange).

    Young stars ranging in age from one million to seven million years were found. The infrared data indicates that a very low fraction of the stars have circumstellar disks of dust and gas. Even fewer disks were found close to the massive OB stars, betraying the corrosive power of their intense radiation that leads to early destruction of their disks. There is also evidence that the older population of stars has lost its most massive members because of supernova explosions. Finally, a total mass of about 30,000 times the mass of the sun is derived for Cygnus OB2, similar to that of the most massive star forming regions in our Galaxy. This means that Cygnus OB2, located only about 5,000 light years from Earth, is the closest massive star cluster.

    NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra's science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

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    Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/J.Drake et al, Optical: Univ. of Hertfordshire/INT/IPHAS, Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Caption credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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    1. Mike & Indy 74 months ago | reply


    2. Beckaroonie 74 months ago | reply

      Absolutely astounding!

    3. ICK9S [M. H. Stephens] 74 months ago | reply

      Stunning display! Beautiful colors! Great capture!!

    4. Stefano Rugolo 74 months ago | reply

      Thank you for sharing this

    5. Rosário Marques 74 months ago | reply

      wow, thanks for sharing !

    6. lucia bianchi 74 months ago | reply

      spettacolare! wonderful!!! stunning!

    7. pauline.kehoe 74 months ago | reply

      Its hard to find words to describe this breathtaking capture, the amazing colours are stunning, thank you for sharing.

    8. comfortable credit [deleted] 74 months ago | reply

      La fotografía me encanta y ahora me pondré a traducir, para informarme bien;-))

    9. little_frank 74 months ago | reply

      Seen in my contacts' photos. ( ?² )

    10. colorful airport [deleted] 74 months ago | reply

      good effing gravy.

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