Star Forming Regions

Stars form within dense clouds of cold gas and dust. As the gas collapses under its own gravitational attraction, the core heats up until nuclear fusion begins - a star is born. All this occurs deep within clouds so dense that visible light cannot escape. But, radio waves can escape and we can use those radio waves to figure out what happens when a star is born. Once a star or a cluster of stars "turns on", the heat from the star can ionize parts of the cloud around it producing regions of ionized gas (HII regions) which emit radio waves. The new star(s) also heat dust in the cloud which then emits radio waves which we can detect. This "warm" dust (at a temperature of only 10 to 100 degrees above absolute zero) may be located in a circumstellar disk around the new star - a disk that astronomers believe may be the birth place of planets like our own solar system.

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144-351

Cepheus A

DR21

G25.32+0.0

G27.0+0.0

G28.62+0.0

GAL 028.17 00.05

Galactic Center

HL Tau

m17

m42

M42

m42

NGC 1333

Ophiuchus

SH 2-106

SH 2-201

W49

W49A

W49A

WR140
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