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    • Pirjo Sundqvist

      Discovery of the Phoenix galaxy cluster – the largest in the Universe – raises the question: what are the other large structures? There are an estimated 6 x 1022 (six followed by 22 zeroes or 6 sextillion) stars in the observable Universe organized into 80 billion galaxies. This is where the “large structure” of the Universe begins. These galaxies are often part of clusters and superclusters. Then there are humongous filaments of dark matter. There are ‘walls’ and ‘sheets’ of matter. There are g

    • Ashley Smashley

      pillars of star formation Explanation: How do stars form? A study of star forming region W5 by the sun-orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope provides clear clues by recording that massive stars near the center of empty cavities are older than stars near the edges. A likely reason for this is that the older stars in the center are actually triggering the formation of the younger edge stars. The triggered star formation occurs when hot outflowing gas compresses cooler gas into knots dense enough to gravitationally contract into stars. Spectacular pillars, left slowly evaporating from the hot outflowing gas, provide further visual clues. In the above scientifically-colored infrared image, red indicates heated dust, while white and green indicate particularly dense gas clouds. W5 is also known as IC 1848, and together with IC 1805 form a complex region of star formation popularly dubbed the Heart and Soul Nebulas. The above image highlights a part of W5 spanning about 2,000 light years that is rich in star forming pillars. W5 lies about 6,500 light years away toward the constellation of Cassiopeia.

    • Sharon R. Thompson

      Outer Space --- Heart and Soul ~ W5: Pillars of Star Formation. W5 is also known as IC 1848, and together with IC 1805 form a complex region of star formation popularly dubbed the Heart and Soul Nebulas. W5 lies about 6,500 light years away toward the constellation of Cassiopeia. Image Credit & Copyright: Lori Allen, Xavier Koenig (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) et al., JPL-Caltech, NASA

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