Seeing Beyond the 'Monkey Head'

Spitzer_sig15-012_1024

spitzer_sig15-012 August 19th, 2015

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scores of baby stars shrouded by dust are revealed in this infrared image of the star-forming region NGC 2174, as seen by NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope. Some of the clouds in the region resemble the face of a monkey in visible-light images, hence the nebula's nickname: the "Monkey Head." However, in infrared images such as this, the monkey disappears. That's because different clouds are highlighted in infrared and visible-light images.

Found in the northern reaches of the constellation Orion, NGC 2174 is located around 6,400 light-years away. Columns of dust, slightly to the right of center in the image, are being carved out of the dust by radiation and stellar winds from the hottest young stars recently born in the area.

Spitzers infrared view provides us with a preview of the next clusters of stars that will be born in the coming millennia. The reddish spots of light scattered through the darker filaments are infant stars swaddled by blankets of warm dust. The warm dust glows brightly at infrared wavelengths. Eventually, these stars will pop out of their dusty envelopes and their light will carve away at the dust clouds surrounding them.

In this image, infrared wavelengths have been assigned visible colors we see with our eyes. Light with a wavelength of 3.5 microns is shown in blue, 8.0 microns is green, and 24 microns in red. The greens show the organic molecules in the dust clouds, illuminated by starlight. Reds are caused by the thermal radiation emitted from the very hottest areas of dust.

Areas around the edges that were not observed by Spitzer have been filled in using infrared observations from NASAs Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

Provider: Spitzer Space Telescope

Image Source: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6101-sig15-012-Seeing-Beyond-the-Monkey-Head-

Curator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Monkey Head Nebula NGC 2174
Subject - Milky Way
Nebula > Type > Star Formation

Distance

Universescale1
6,400 light years
Spitzer_sig15-012_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 6h 9m 6.6s
DEC = 20° 32’ 47.4”
Orientation
North is 90.2° CCW
Field of View
30.5 x 26.3 arcminutes
Constellation
Orion

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Near-IR) 3.6 µm
Arrow_left_cyan Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Near-IR) 4.5 µm
Arrow_left_green Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Mid-IR) 8.0 µm
Arrow_left_red Spitzer (MIPS) Infrared (Mid-IR) 24.0 µm
Some edge regions not covered by Spitzer were filled in from WISE
Spectrum_ir1
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_cyan
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_red
Spitzer_sig15-012_1280
×
ID
sig15-012
Subject Category
B.4.1.2  
Subject Name
Monkey Head Nebula, NGC 2174
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Release Date
2015-08-19
Lightyears
6,400
Redshift
6,400
Reference Url
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6101-sig15-012-Seeing-Beyond-the-Monkey-Head-
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Spitzer, Spitzer, Spitzer, Spitzer
Instrument
IRAC, IRAC, IRAC, MIPS
Color Assignment
Blue, Cyan, Green, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Near-IR, Near-IR, Mid-IR, Mid-IR
Central Wavelength
3600, 4500, 8000, 24000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
S
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
92.2776485, 20.5465084
Reference Dimension
3050.0, 2630.0
Reference Pixel
1526.0, 1316.0
Scale
-0.000166656, 0.00016665589
Rotation
90.18
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Spitzer Space Telescope
URL
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
spitzer
Resource ID
sig15-012.tif
Metadata Date
2015-08-20
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

×
Universescalefull
6,400 light years