The Rosette molecular cloud
This Herschel image of the Rosette molecular cloud reveals the formation of previously unseen large stars, up to ten times the mass of our Sun and embedded inside dusty cocoons. The observations were made with Herschel's Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) and the Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE).
The image is the most recent entry on the 'Online Showcase of Herschel Images' website. It is a three-colour composite from observations at three different infrared wavelengths: 70 µm (blue), 160 µm (green) and 250 µm (red). Each colour also corresponds to a different temperature of dust, from 10K in the red emission to 40K in the blue.
The newly discovered stars are the bright points of white light scattered across the central portion of the image. The bright smudges are dusty cocoons containing high-mass protostars. These will eventually become stars containing around ten times the mass of the Sun. In the redder regions of the image and near its centre, are lower mass protostars, similar in mass to the Sun.