In celebration of the 24th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have captured infrared-light images of a churning region of star birth 6,400 light-years away.
The images are just the lastest find from Hubble and you can explore the history of the remarkable craft at NASA.gov’s Hubble Space Telescope webpage. The webpage features sections on Hubble Science, The Hubble Story, Servicing Missions and Multimedia — where you can find those “star birth” images and more.
The new collection of “star birth” images reveals a shadowy, dense knot of gas and dust sharply contrasted against a backdrop of brilliant glowing gas in the Monkey Head Nebula (also known as NGC 2174 and Sharpless Sh2-252).
The visualizations demonstrate Hubble’s powerful infrared vision and offer a tantalizing hint of what scientists can expect from the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. Observations of NGC 2174 were taken in February, 2014.
Massive newborn stars near the center of the nebula (and toward the right in this image) are blasting away at dust within the nebula. The ultraviolet light emitted by these bright stars helps shape the dust into giant pillars.