SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Stellar Nurseries, Paloma, More

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Stellar Nurseries, Paloma, More
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November 11, 2008--This composite image showcases star birth in an expanding bubble of ionized gas 4,200 light-years from Earth.

A massive, hot star (center) pumps out ultraviolet radiation that ionizes--or removes charged particles from atoms--surrounding gases (red). The expanding gases' shock wave "sweeps up" frigid interstellar gas and dust, which collapses into dense hydrogen clouds (blue) that spawn new star birth.

These -418 degrees Fahrenheit (-250 degree celsius) cloud clumps can be spotted in submillimeter light, offering a peek at the early stages of star formation.
—Image by ESO/APEX/DSS2/SuperCosmos
 
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