Spitzer shows portrait of different star generations

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The photo above, taken by the space telescope Spitzer, from NASA, released in 2019, shows a large celestial mosaic. There is much to see there, including several star clusters born from the same dense clusters of gas and dust. Some of these clusters are older and more evolved than others, which makes this a stellar portrait of generations.

This image is from the Cepheus C and Cepheus B regions and combines data from the Spitzer IRAC and MIPS instruments.

The large green and orange delta that fills most of the image is a distant nebula, or a cloud of gas and dust in space. Although the cloud appears to flow from the bright white point at its tip, it is actually what remains of a much larger cloud that has been sculpted by the radiation of the stars.

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The bright region is illuminated by massive stars, belonging to a cluster that extends above the white spot. The white color is the combination of four colors (blue, green, orange and red). Each of these colors represents a different wavelength of infrared light, which is invisible to human eyes. The dust that has been heated by the radiation of the stars creates the red glow around it.


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