Star Formation Everywhere You Look

Wise_wise2011-023_500

WISE_WISE2011-023 June 23rd, 2011

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

This image from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, highlights several star-forming regions. There are five distinct centers of star birth in this one image alone. Star-forming nebulae (called HII regions by astronomers) are clouds of gas and dust that have been heated up by nearby stars recently formed from the same cloud, and have appeared in previously featured WISE images.

The largest, brightest cloud, in the upper right is known as Gum 22. Its named after Colin Gum, an Australian astronomer who surveyed the southern hemisphere sky in the early 1950s looking for star-forming regions like these. He catalogued 85 new such regions, named Gum 1 to 85 (Gum Crater on the moon was also named in his honor).

Going counter-clockwise from Gum 22, the other catalogued nebulae in the image are Gum 23 (part of same cloud as 22), IRAS 09002-4732 (orange cloud near center), Bran 226 (upper cloud of the two at lower left), and finally Gum 25 at far lower left. There are also several smaller and/or more distant regions scattered throughout the image that have yet to be catalogued. Most of the regions are thought to be part of our local Orion spiral arm spur in the Milky Way Galaxy. Their distances range from about 4,000 to 10,000 light-years away.

Notice the very bright green star near the lower right portion of the image. You can tell its a star because it appears to have spikes sticking out of it (diffraction spikes like these are an optical effect caused by the structure of the telescope). Bright stars in WISE images are typically blue, so you know this one is special. Known as IRAS 08535-4724, its a unique type of stellar giant called a carbon star. Carbon stars are similar to red giants stars, which are much larger than the Sun, glow brightly in longer wavelengths, and are in the late stages of their lives. But they have unusually high amounts of carbon in their outer atmospheres. Astronomers think this carbon comes either from convection currents deep within a star's core, or from a nearby neighboring star, from which it is siphoned. Recent evidence suggests that a carbon star like this one will end its life in an extremely powerful explosion called a gamma-ray burst, briefly outshining the Sun a million trillion times.

The colors used in this image represent specific wavelengths of infrared light. Blue and cyan (blue-green) represent light emitted at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 microns, which is predominantly from stars. Green and red represent light of 12 and 22 microns, respectively, which is mostly emitted by dust.

Image Source: /image/WISE/WISE2011-023

Curator: Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, Berkeley, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: Pulic Domain

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
GUM 25 GUM22 GUM23 IRAS 09002-4732 (GAL 268.4-00.9) BRAN 226 (RCW 39)
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula » Type » Star Formation
Wise_wise2011-023_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 9h 0m 38.0s
DEC = -47° 51’ 10.3”
Orientation
North is 34.4° CW
Field of View
2.3 x 1.5 degrees
Constellation
Vela

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue WISE Infrared (Near-IR) 3.4 µm
Arrow_left_cyan WISE Infrared (Near-IR) 4.6 µm
Arrow_left_green WISE Infrared (Mid-IR) 12.0 µm
Arrow_left_red WISE Infrared (Mid-IR) 22.0 µm
Spectrum_ir1
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_cyan
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_red
Wise_wise2011-023_1280
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ID
WISE2011-023
Subject Category
B.4.1.2.  
Subject Name
GUM 25, GUM22, GUM23, IRAS 09002-4732 (GAL 268.4-00.9), BRAN 226, (RCW 39)
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
/image/WISE/WISE2011-023
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
WISE, WISE, WISE, WISE
Instrument
Color Assignment
Blue, Cyan, Green, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Near-IR, Near-IR, Mid-IR, Mid-IR
Central Wavelength
3400, 4600, 12000, 22000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
135.1583901, -47.8528682
Reference Dimension
6000.0, 4000.0
Reference Pixel
3001.0, 2001.0
Scale
0.000382028, 0.00038202823
Rotation
-34.35
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
URL
http://wise.astro.ucla.edu
Name
Email
outreach@ssl.berkeley.edu
Telephone
Address
7 Gauss Way
City
Berkeley
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
94720
Country
USA
Rights
Pulic Domain
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
WISE
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/WISE/WISE2011-023
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2011-08-05
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.