Cosmic Winter Wonderland

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Cosmic ‘Winter’ Wonderland: Although there are no seasons in space, this cosmic vista invokes thoughts of a frosty winter landscape. It is, in fact, a region where radiation from hot, young stars is energizing the cooler gas in the cloud that surrounds them. Located in our galaxy about 5,500 light years from Earth, it is actually a “cluster of clusters,” containing at least three clusters of young stars, including many hot, massive, luminous stars. There are bubbles, or cavities, that have been created by radiation and material blowing away from the surfaces of massive stars, plus supernova explosions.

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/L. Townsley et al; Optical: UKIRT; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech @nasachandraxray

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