Credit:X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Colorado/Linsky et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/ASU/J.Hester & P.Scowen
Breaking Down the Pillars
Fascinating, the ways that stars and planets form. Though much has been learned about this hidden process, many of the details are far from clear. Young stars are often hyperactive, screaming out because their magnetic fields get tangled or because of strong stellar winds which can carry immense amounts of energy. This activity generates X-rays. X-radiation can penetrate through very thick clouds, giving astronomers a view of the otherwise hidden secrets of young stars. The image above shows an X-ray image by the Chandra observatory of a field of young stars. The stars are the colored, which represents the energy of the emitted X-rays: blue for predominantly high-energy X-ray sources, red for predominantly low energy X-ray emitting sources. This field includes the famous "Pillars of Creation", stunning columns of gas and dust within which stars are forming, shown in the inset optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Chandra lets astronomers peer deep inside the cold Pillars to reveal the hidden hot stars within.
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:27:16 EDT