Cultural Percussionist

The Cosmos with RCW 57

At the heart of a star-forming region called RCW 57, this image shows the complex interaction of interstellar gas and dark dust clouds among newly formed stars. The glowing gas is energized by ultraviolet radiation from the young stars. The intricate wispy structures in the cloud are formed by radiation from the young stars and the explosions of nearby, very massive stars that have exceptionally short lives compared to stars like our sun. A study by M. Maercker in 2006 revealed that the region is overly abundant with massive star formation with over 33 star-forming regions in the extended area at the end stages of formation. This region of the sky is only visible from observers in the southern hemisphere and is a popular showpiece for small telescopes and binoculars in the far-southern constellation of Carina. The Gemini image was obtained with the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph at the Gemini South telescope using two pointings to make a mosaic image that has a field of view of 9.0 x 5.0 arcsminutes. The exposures were taken through three narrowband filters: [OIII] (blue), [SII] (green) and H-alpha (red).


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