do stars form?
To help study this complex issue, astronomers took a deep infrared
image of Cygnus
X, the largest known star
forming region in the entire Milky
recently-released image was
taken in 2009 by the orbiting Spitzer
Space Telescope and digitally
translated into colors
humans can see, with the hottest regions colored the most blue.
are large bubbles of hot gas inflated by the winds
of massive stars soon after they form. Current models posit that these
sweep up gas and sometimes even collide, frequently creating regions
dense enough to gravitationally collapse into yet more stars.
The star factory Cygnus-X
spans over 600 light years, contains over a million times the mass of
our Sun, and shines
prominently on wide angle infrared
of the night sky.
X lies 4,500 light years away
towards the constellation
of the Swan (Cygnus).
In a few million years, calm
will likely be restored and a large open
cluster of stars will remain --
which itself will disperse over the next 100 million years.