Friday, May 20, 2022

Monkey Head: Baby stars in the Orion constellation

The warm dust glows brightly at infrared wavelengths.

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope captured an infrared image of the star-forming region NGC 2174 revealed scores of baby stars shrouded by dust. Some clouds in this region look like a monkey in visible-light images. Hence, this nebula is named Monkey Head. However, the Monkey face disappears in infrared images as different clouds are highlighted in infrared and visible-light images.

NGC 2174 is an emission nebula located around 6,400 light-years away in the constellation Orion. 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.

The radiation and stellar winds from the hottest young stars recently born in the area carved out columns of dust. These dust columns appear slightly to the right of the center in the image.

Light with a wavelength of 3.5 microns is shown in blue, 8.0 microns in 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 dust areas.

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