APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2011 Nov 20)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
User avatar
APOD Robot
Otto Posterman
Posts: 3967
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:27 am

APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2011 Nov 20)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:12 am

Image W5: Pillars of Star Formation

Explanation: How do stars form? A study of star forming region W5 by the sun-orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope provides clear clues by recording that massive stars near the center of empty cavities are older than stars near the edges. A likely reason for this is that the older stars in the center are actually triggering the formation of the younger edge stars. The triggered star formation occurs when hot outflowing gas compresses cooler gas into knots dense enough to gravitationally contract into stars. Spectacular pillars, left slowly evaporating from the hot outflowing gas, provide further visual clues. In the above scientifically-colored infrared image, red indicates heated dust, while white and green indicate particularly dense gas clouds. W5 is also known as IC 1848, and together with IC 1805 form a complex region of star formation popularly dubbed the Heart and Soul Nebulas. The above image highlights a part of W5 spanning about 2,000 light years that is rich in star forming pillars. W5 lies about 6,500 light years away toward the constellation of Cassiopeia.

<< Previous APODDiscuss Any APOD Next APOD >>
[/b]

User avatar
alter-ego
Serendipitous Sleuthhound
Posts: 865
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:51 am
Location: Redmond, WA

Re: APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2011 Nov 20)

Post by alter-ego » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:54 am

I think this picture is amazing. Unfortunately I am acutely sensitive to scaling. Is there confustion with the wording or is there something not correct in the description? :roll:
A Puzzle Of the Day if you will :?:
A pessimist is nothing more than an experienced optimist

zloq
A wild zloq appears!
Posts: 88
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:56 am

Re: APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2011 Nov 20)

Post by zloq » Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:20 am

Good catch. The original APOD caption says it is 6,500 light years away and 2,000 across. That would mean it would span a big chunk of the sky from Earth.

http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/1 ... mily-Tree-

says that the distance is correct at 6,500 light years, and the angular size is about 2 degrees. That would mean it is about 200 light years in size - assuming that distance. So it looks like the size should be 200 light years instead of 2,000.

zloq

User avatar
Ann
4725 Å
Posts: 10513
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 5:33 am

Re: APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2011 Nov 20)

Post by Ann » Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:57 am

Indeed, that was a good catch. I wonder if there has been a mix-up between the size of the area portrayed in today's APOD and the large nebular complex that it belongs to. W5 is apparently a part of IC 1805, the Heart Nebula, but the Heart Nebula is in itself only a part of larger starforming region. See this image. It is annotated in Spanish (I think), but it should be relatively easy to understand the annotation even if you only speak English.

ON the other hand... a size of 2,000 light-years still sounds too much for a nebula which is just 6,000 light-years away and doesn't come close, even if you count every wisp of red in this complex, to cover a third of the sky.

Ann
Last edited by Ann on Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Color Commentator

Squire of Gothos

Re: APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2011 Nov 20)

Post by Squire of Gothos » Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:15 pm

You should have saved this one for Valentine's day.

User avatar
orin stepanek
Plutopian
Posts: 5509
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: Nebraska

Re: APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2011 Nov 20)

Post by orin stepanek » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:12 pm

I liked this simple YouTube demonstration that shows how star formation occurs! 8-)
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Orin

Smile today; tomorrow's another day!

OverlordE
Ensign
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:22 pm

Re: APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2011 Nov 20)

Post by OverlordE » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:33 pm

Does anyone else see a hooted face in today’s picture? Looks like someone looking off to the right.

TNT
Science Officer
Posts: 289
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:57 am
Location: Heart of America

Re: APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2011 Nov 20)

Post by TNT » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:00 pm

Wow! So much detail in this image! The colors really blend together well.
The following statement is true.
The above statement is false.

Wolf Kotenberg

Re: APOD: W5: Pillars of Star Formation (2011 Nov 20)

Post by Wolf Kotenberg » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:55 am

WOW, a gigantic CERN hadron collider