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Inside the Dark Heart of the Eagle

Inside the Dark Heart of the Eagle


Date: 14 December 2009
Satellite: Herschel
Depicts: Composte PACS and SPIRE image of Aquila
Copyright: ESA and the SPIRE & PACS consortia, Ph. André (CEA Saclay) for the Gould's Belt Key Programme Consortia

This image shows a dark cloud which is part of Gould's Belt and located 1000 light years away in the constellation Aquila, the Eagle. It was taken on 24 October 2009 using two of Herschel's instruments: the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) and the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE). The two bright regions are areas where large newborn stars are causing hydrogen gas to shine.

Embedded within the dusty filaments are 700 condensations of dust and gas that will eventually become stars. It is estimated that about 100 of these are protostars, celestial objects in the final stages of formation. The other 600 objects are insufficiently developed to be considered protostars, but these too will eventually become another generation of stars.

Observing these stellar nurseries is a key programme for Herschel, which aims to uncover the demographics of star formation and its origin. As well as this region of Aquila, Herschel will target fourteen other star-forming regions as part of the Gould's Belt Key Programme.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
30-Nov-2021 16:01 UT

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