NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope spied something magical: gigantic bubbles in space with stars trapped inside them.
Spitzer, which observes our galaxy in infrared light, captured a new image in Aquila, or the Eagle constellation. The region is active with star formation.
A large cloud of gas and dust, both necessary ingredients and byproducts of star formation, dominates the image. Within the cloud are large bubbles, estimated by astronomers to be between ten and 30 light-years across. These bubbles likely reached such a massive size because the young stars forming in this region release wind and radiation.
Within the bubbles themselves are hundreds and even thousands of stars.
Scientists at NASA noticed more than 30 bubbles in the image.
There are patterns and even borders created in this region, largely due to the stellar wind coming off of the stars. Stellar wind is the flow of particles releasing from each star.
Darker veins seen in the image are even denser areas of dust and gas where future star formation will likely occur.
And space observatories like Spitzer spot details in infrared that would never be captured by visible light telescopes, acting like a cosmic detective. This dusty region wouldn’t be apparent using visible light.
In the image, the stars are blue, dust is green and red signifies dust that has been heated by the stars.
In the past, Spitzer has peered into the cosmos and captured regions hidden from our view, like the centers of galaxies and dusty areas where stars are born and planetary systems form.
The Spitzer Space Telescope is in NASA’s Great Observatories family. Spitzer detects infrared light, while Hubble captures visible and UV light, Compton was designed for gamma rays and Chandra sees X-rays.