Chaotic web of ga­lac­tic star birth

All About Space - - Launch Pad -

This re­cently re­leased stun­ning scene cap­tured by the Eu­ro­pean Space Agency's Her­schel Space Ob­ser­va­tory re­veals the true com­plex­ity of our galaxy, the Milky Way. To the hu­man eye our galaxy ap­pears as an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of stars, but to the far-in­frared eyes of the nowde­funct space­craft, in­tri­cate net­works of gas fil­a­ments and dark bub­bles are re­vealed, in­ter­spersed by ex­ceed­ingly bright hotspots where new, baby stars spring to life. Cooler re­gions are dis­played in a red-brown­ish colour, while hot­ter re­gions – where star for­ma­tion is much more in­tense – daz­zle in blue and white overtones. Look closely and you’ll be able to make out the chaotic web of gas fil­a­ments – it’s thought that the there’s a link be­tween star for­ma­tion and the struc­tures fill­ing the in­ter­stel­lar medium. The dens­est strands become un­sta­ble, form­ing clumps of ma­te­rial tied to­gether by grav­ity.

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