Astronomy Picture of the Day

Mountains of Creation

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Mountains of Creation


This fantastic skyscape
lies at the eastern edge of giant
stellar nursery W5, about 7,000 light-years away in the constellation

An infrared view from the
Space Telescope
it features interstellar clouds of cold gas and dust
sculpted by winds and radiation from a hot, massive star
outside the picture (just above and to the right).

Still swaddled within the cosmic clouds,
newborn stars
are revealed
by Spitzer's penetrating gaze, their
formation also
by the massive star.

Fittingly dubbed "Mountains of Creation", these
clouds are about 10 times the size of the analogous
Pillars of Creation in M16, made famous in a
1995 Hubble Space Telescope view.

W5 is also known as IC 1848 and
together with IC 1805 it is part of
a complex
region popularly dubbed the
Heart and
Soul Nebulae

The Spitzer image spans about 70 light-years at the distance of W5.

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