Sunday, January 08, 2006

Stellar Snowflake Cluster

Stellar Snowflake Cluster

Newborn stars, hidden behind thick dust, are revealed in this image of a section of the Christmas Tree Cluster from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, created in joint effort between Spitzer's Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) and Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS) instruments.

The newly revealed infant stars appear as pink and red specks toward the center of the combined IRAC-MIPS image (left panel). The stars appear to have formed in regularly spaced intervals along linear structures in a configuration that resembles the spokes of a wheel or the pattern of a snowflake. Hence, astronomers have nicknamed this the "Snowflake Cluster."

NGC 2264 – click for 516×715 image

More information:

Spitzer Spots Stellar Snowflake on the 'Christmas Tree Cluster'
Spitzer Unveils Infant Stars in the Christmas Tree Cluster


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