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5 Spectacular Portraits Of The Heavens

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The portraits of the heavens taken by the Herschel Space Observatory are some of the most spectacular.  Here are five of the most recent. 
 

W44 and its environment

Supernova remnant W44 is the focus of this new image created by combining data from ESA’s Herschel and XMM-Newton space observatories. W44 is the vast purple sphere that dominates the left hand side of this image, and measures about 100 light-years across. XMM-Newton data reveal that the remnant is filled with X-ray emission from extremely hot gas.


Herschel’s three-colour infrared view comprises PACS 70 and 160 micron and SPIRE 250 micron images. X-ray data from XMM-Newton’s EPIC instrument for W44 only has been added in light and dark blue to represent high- (2–8 keV) and low-energy (1.2–2 keV) X-ray emission, respectively.
The field of view is about 1º across. North is towards the bottom left of the image; east is to the top right.

Credits: Herschel: Q. Nguyen Luong & F. Motte, HOBYS Key Program consortium, Herschel SPIRE/PACS/ESA consortia. XMM-Newton: ESA/XMM-Newton
 

Vela C region

The Vela C region, part of the Vela complex, by ESA’s Herschel space observatory. The image demonstrates Herschel’s ability to trace both high- and low-mass star formation at a range of evolutionary stages, from cool filaments, pre-stellar cores and protostars to more evolved regions containing dust that has been gently heated by hot stars.

The image was mapped using Herschel instruments PACS and SPIRE at wavelengths of 70, 160, and 250 microns, corresponding to the blue, green and red channels, respectively. North is to the right and east is up.


Credits: ESA/PACS & SPIRE Consortia, T. Hill, F. Motte, Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/IRFU – CNRS/INSU – Uni. Paris Diderot, HOBYS Key Programme Consortium
 

Blowing bubbles in the Carina Nebula

The Carina Nebula, by ESA’s Herschel space observatory. The image shows the effects of massive star formation – powerful stellar winds and radiation have carved pillars and bubbles in dense clouds of gas and dust.

The image covers approximately 2.3 x 2.3 degrees of the Carina Nebula complex and was mapped using Herschel instruments PACS and SPIRE at wavelengths of 70, 160, and 250 microns, corresponding to the blue, green, and red channels, respectively. North is to the upper left and east is to the lower left.

Credits: ESA/PACS/SPIRE/Thomas Preibisch, Universitäts-Sternwarte München, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany.

 

Herschel’s swan

This new view of the Cygnus-X star-formation region by Herschel highlights chaotic networks of dust and gas that point to sites of massive star formation.

The image combines data acquired with the PACS instrument at 70 micron (corresponding to the blue channel) and 160 micron (corresponding to the green channel) and with the SPIRE instrument at 250 micron (corresponding to the red channel). The observations were made on 24 May 2010 and 18 December 2010. North is to the lower-right and east to the upper-right.


Credits: ESA/PACS/SPIRE/Martin Hennemann & Frédérique Motte, Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/Irfu – CNRS/INSU – Univ. Paris Diderot, France.
 

Baby stars in Orion Nebula

This new view of the Orion Nebula shows embryonic stars within extensive gas and dust clouds. Combining far-infrared observations from the Herschel Space Observatory and mid-infrared observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the image shows newly forming stars surrounded by remnant gas and dust in the form of discs and larger envelopes.

Data from the PACS instrument on Herschel at wavelengths of 70 and 160 microns (a micron is a millionth of a metre) are shown as green and red, respectively, and reveal emission from the disks and envelopes of the very youngest protostars. Two Spitzer instruments, IRAC and MIPS, were used to obtain images of the same region at 8 and 24 microns, which are combined here as blue. These wavelengths show emission from the hotter regions of discs around somewhat older stars.

The region shown covers roughly 25×25 arcminutes on the sky or 3×3 parsecs at the distance to Orion.

Credits: ESA/PACS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/IRAM

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