A space spider watches over young stars
|The Spider Nebula lies about 10,000 light-years away from Earth and is a site |
of active star formation [Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/2MASS]
One of the largest clusters of young stars in the Spider can be seen easily in the image. Toward the right of center, against the black background of space, you can see a bright group of stars called "Stock 8." The light from this cluster carves out a bowl in the nearby dust clouds, seen in the imageas green fluff. Along the sinuous tail in the center, and to the left, the groupings of red point sources clumped in the green are also young stars.
In the image, infrared wavelengths, which are invisible to the unaided eye, have been assigned visible colors. Light with a wavelength of 1.2 microns, detected by 2MASS, is shown in blue. The Spitzer wavelengths of 3.6 and 4.5 microns are green and red, respectively.
Spitzer data used to create the image were obtained during the space telescope's "warm mission" phase, following its depletion of coolant in mid-2009. Due to its design, Spitzer remains cold enough to operate efficiently at two channels of infrared light. It is now in its 12th year of operation since launch.
Author: Elizabeth Landau | Source: NASA [April 15, 2016]