Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bursting with Stars

This image is taken looking towards a region of our Milky Way galaxy in the Eagle constellation, closer to the galactic center than our sun. Here, we see the outstanding end products of the stellar assembly line. At the center and the left of the image, the two massive star-forming regions G29.9 and W43 are clearly visible. These mini-starbursts are forming, as we speak, hundreds and hundreds of stars of all sizes: from those similar to our sun, to monsters several tens of times heavier than our sun.

These newborn large stars are catastrophically disrupting their original gas embryos by kicking away their surroundings and excavating giant cavities in the galaxy. This is clearly visible in the "fluffy chimney" below W43.

Photo credit: ESA/Hi-GAL Consortium

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