Young Star Cluster Westerlund 2

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#105477 by @ 01.02.2008 00:00 - nach oben -
Young Star Cluster Westerlund 2


Explanation:

Dusty stellar nursery
RCW 49 surrounds young star cluster
Westerlund 2 in this remarkable composite skyscape
from beyond the visible
spectrum of light.

Infrared
data from the Spitzer Space Telescope is shown in
black and white, complimenting the Chandra
X-ray
image data (in false color) of the hot energetic stars
within the cluster's central region.

Looking toward the
grand
southern constellation
Centaurus, both
views
reveal
stars and
structures hidden from optical telescopes by obscuring dust.

Westerlund 2
itself is a mere 2 million years old or
less, and contains some of our galaxy's most luminous, massive
and therefore
short-lived stars.

The infrared signatures
of proto-planetary disks have also been
identified in the intense star forming region.

At the cluster's estimated distance of 20,000 light-years,
the square marking the Chandra field of view would be
about 50 light-years on a side.




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