Sharpless 140 Nebula and newborn stars shrouded in dark dust

(ORDO NEWS) — Spitzer made it possible to look where Hubble was not capable of , and to study what human eyes could not see.

This telescope was our guide to the secret world of the Universe, which was replaced by the new NASA James Webb Super Telescope .

But let’s not forget past achievements

On October 11, 2003, just two months after launch, Spitzer turned its gaze to the Sharpless 140 nebula (hereinafter referred to as S 140), about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

S 140 is a region of very active star formation, where all the classical manifestations of the birth of stars of different masses and sizes can be traced in a relatively small area.

Sharpless 140 Nebula and newborn stars shrouded in dark dust 2
Sharpless 140 infrared

At the heart of S 140 is a cluster of three young stars (a bright greenish dot in the center), each of which is several thousand times brighter than the Sun.

The cluster is clearly visible in the image taken with the Spitzer infrared camera, but these stars are not visible to optical instruments (image below), because they are hidden by a dense veil of the dust cloud surrounding them.

Sharpless 140 Nebula and newborn stars shrouded in dark dust 3
Sharpless 140 in the optical range

The extreme youth of the cluster stars is indicated by the presence of a gas stream moving at great speed. Such outflows occur when surrounding stars are still greedily consuming the gas needed for their eventual formation.

The reddish-pink arc or bowl visible in the image represents the outer edge of the dense dust cloud surrounding young stars.

This cloud consists mainly of organic compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are illuminated by starlight.

Ultraviolet light from nearby bright stars “corrodes” these molecules, causing the dust envelope to slowly break down. Therefore, one day the darkness will dissipate, and the cluster of stars will be visible in the optical range.

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