Thursday, August 24, 2006

Spitzer's Orion - Looks like an alien holding a star, to me. What do you think? ;- )

Credit: Thomas Megeath (Univ. Toledo) et al., JPL, Caltech, NASA

Explanation: Few cosmic vistas excite the imagination like the Orion Nebula, an immense stellar nursery some 1,500 light-years away. Also known as M42, the nebula is visible to the unaided eye, but this stunning infrared view from the Spitzer Space Telescope penetrates the turbulent cosmic gas and dust clouds to explore the region in unprecedented detail. At full resolution, the remarkable image data yields a census of new stars and potential solar systems. About 2,300 young stars surrounded by planet-forming disks were detected based on the infrared glow of their warm dust, along with about 200 stellar embryos, stars too young to have developed disks. This 0.8 by 1.4 degree false-color image is about 20 light-years wide at the distance of the Orion Nebula.

3 comments:

Adam said...

Agreed (with the post title). The top 1/3 of the pic reminded me of the starchild from the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Possibly, he's blowing star chunks though (a technicolour starscape, as it were).

Another breathtakingly beautiful picture though Stardust.

Stardust said...

adam - yes, it does look like the starchild from 2001.

I now can see hands holding a flute to his mouth...a sparkly flute and stars coming out instead of air.

It's amazing how astronomers can look so deep into space and see the past as present. Eerie.

Adam said...

"It's amazing how astronomers can look so deep into space and see the past as present. Eerie."

Light is a terrible slacker, isn't it? Trundling along at a mere 300,000 km/sec. Who designed this universe anyway? Shoddy craftsmanship.