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A deeper glimpse at star formation

The Herschel Space Observatory has captured many views of stellar birth — the environment and the various stages.
02_Southern-Cross
Southern Cross // Credit: ESA and the SPIRE & PACS Consortia
In the December 2012 issue, “5 top discoveries of the Herschel Space Observatory” describes the infrared telescope’s observations and major findings. Because dust doesn’t scatter (and thus block) infrared radiation in the way it does visible light, by observing in that wavelength range, Herschel can see through dust clouds to observe the star formation occurring within. Here are a few additional examples of stellar nurseries that the European Space Agency’s telescope has seen that we couldn’t fit into the magazine. Each image caption also lists the wavelengths that Herschel detected.
Credit: ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortium/HOBYS Key Programme Consortia
The Rosette molecular cloud holds protostars — massive ones hide behind dusty cocoons while lower-mass baby stars lie at the image’s center. This picture is a composite of images at 70 micrometers (blue), 160 micrometers (green), and 250 micrometers (red).
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