Peace on Earth and a Wreath in the Heavens

Wise_wise2011-033b_500

WISE_WISE2011-033b December 20th, 2011

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

In keeping with the spirit of the holidays, NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission presents the Wreath Nebula. Though this isnt the nebulas official name (its actually called Barnard 3 or IRAS Ring G159.6-18.5), its easy to picture a wreath in these bright green and red dust clouds -- a ring of evergreens donned with a festive red bow, a jaunty sprig of holly, and silver bells throughout. Interstellar clouds like these are stellar nurseries, places where baby stars are being born.

The green ring (evergreen) is made of tiny particles of warm dust whose composition is very similar to smog found here on Earth. The red cloud (bow) in the middle is probably made of dust that is more metallic and cooler than the surrounding regions. The bright star in the middle of the red cloud, called HD 278942, is so luminous that it is likely what is causing most of the surrounding ring to glow. In fact its powerful stellar winds are what cleared out the surrounding warm dust and created the ring-shaped feature in the first place. The bright greenish-yellow region left of center (holly) is similar to the ring, though more dense. The bluish-white stars (silver bells) scattered throughout are stars located both in front of, and behind, the nebula.

Regions similar to the "Wreath nebula" are found near the band of the Milky Way in the night sky. The wreath is slightly off of this band, near the boundary between the constellations of Perseus and Taurus, but at a relatively close distance of only about 1,000 light-years, the cloud is a still part of our Milky Way galaxy.

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 from 12 and 22 microns, respectively, which is mostly emitted by dust.

Image Source: /image/WISE/WISE2011-033b

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

Image Use Policy: Pulic Domain

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Barnard 3 IRAS Ring G159.6-18.5
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula » Type » Star Formation
Nebula » Appearance » Dark

Distance

Universescale1
1,000 light years
Wise_wise2011-033b_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 3h 39m 60.0s
DEC = 31° 58’ 0.0”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
1.6 x 1.8 degrees
Constellation
Perseus

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_wise2011-033b_1280
×
ID
WISE2011-033b
Subject Category
B.4.1.2   B.4.2.3  
Subject Name
Barnard 3, IRAS Ring G159.6-18.5
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
Lightyears
1,000
Redshift
Reference Url
/image/WISE/WISE2011-033b
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
55.000000, 31.966670
Reference Dimension
4260, 4800
Reference Pixel
2130, 2400
Scale
-3.81944000000000e-04, 3.81944000000000e-04
Rotation
0
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
Publisher ID
WISE
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/WISE/WISE2011-033b
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2012-10-10 19:00:14 -0700
Metadata Version
1.2
×

Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

×
Universescalefull
1,000 light years