RCW 108: Massive Young Stars Trigger Stellar Birth (A region of active star formation about 4,000 light years from Earth.)
Description: In Chandra's X-ray image (blue) of RCW 108, over 400 sources of X-ray light are seen. Many of these X-ray sources are young stars undergoing massive flaring just as our Sun did billions of years ago. The infrared Spitzer image (red and orange) shows the clouds of dust and gas of this region. The bright knot just to the left of center is where a cluster of young stars is hidden behind a dense cloud of molecular hydrogen. Intense radiation from massive stars in another nearby cluster, just out of view to the left of this image, is destroying the cloud that contains this cluster. Ultimately, this will trigger a new generation of stars to form in RCW 108.
Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory
The Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray
Persistent URL: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2008/rcw108/
Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Gift line: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/S.Wolk et al.
Accession number: rcw108