Fig10_4 Spitzer N346

Fig10_4 Spitzer N346

Fig. 10.4 . This multiple-wavelength portrayal combines infrared (red), visible light (green) and x-ray (blue) images of the bright, star-forming region designated NGC 346. It is located in the Small Magellanic Cloud that orbits our Milky Way Galaxy at a distance of about 210,000 light-years. Both wind-triggered and radiation-induced star formations are revealed, primarily by the infrared emission of the cold dust (red), detected from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Young stars enshrouded by dust appear as red spots with white centers. The pressure of intense radiation from massive stars in the central regions of NGC 346 has pushed against nearby gas, causing it to expand, and created shock waves that have compressed nearby dust and gas into small new stars. Red-orange filaments surrounding the center of the image show where this process has occurred. The supernova explosion of a very massive star apparently triggered the formation of even younger stars, seen as a pinkish concentration at the top of the image. Strong winds from this exploding star pushed dust and gas together about 50,000 years ago, compressing it into new stars. The x-rays (blue), observed from ESA’s XMM-Newton orbiting telescope, reveal very warm gas. The visible light (green) radiation was detected using the European Southern Observatory’s New Technology Telescope. (Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/MPIA.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University