Chandra multi-color image of the Trifid Nebula
Credit: J. Rho et al., 2004, The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 608, pg. 208

Young Stars, In Color

The Trifid Nebula (aka M20) is a cloud of gas in the Milky Way where new stars are forming. It appears as a glowing red cloud to ground-based telescopes, and gets its name from thick lanes of dark dust which split the glowing cloud into 3 parts. The nebula is lit up by the ultraviolet radiation from a massive, young, hot star star. Many if not most of the new stars in the Trifid are embedded within dense clouds of dust and gas. Such regions are prime targets for X-ray observations since X-rays produced by the young stars can penetrate through the blankets of dust and gas. The image above is an X-ray image of the Trifid recently obtained by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The image shows X-ray emission from more than a hundred stars; the stars show various colors which represent X-rays of different energy, signifying emission from hot gas at different temperatures. Blue is the hottest emission, while the coolest sources are red.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:27:17 EDT