Thursday, November 6, 2008

I. In Dark, Sacred Scorpius, a Star Nursery

We are in the eighth astrological sign, Scorpio. Its astronomy is as complicated, fascinating, deep black and dark red as its psychology. So here're a couple posts about the region around its constellation, Scorpius,

Right now, in the region of Scorpius, stars are being born inside a dense cloud of molecular gas and dust, called Rho Ophiuchi.
This "star nursery" is just beyond the star Antares.

From Infrared Space Observatory ISO):
The Rho Ophiuchi Dark Cloud: The Star Nursery Closest to Earth--about 500 light years from Earth.

ISO explains what we see here:
"The scattered bright dots are new stars of moderate size, comparable in mass to the Sun. The bright fuzzy object, upwards and slightly to the right of centre, is a new massive star, much heavier than the Sun, still wrapped in the placental cloud from which it formed. A similar object appears partly veiled towards the bottom right of the picture. The conspicuous wisp right of centre is the interface betweeen the dense cloud and the general interstallar medium. In a dark region near the centre of the picture the dust is so dense that even an infrared telescope can look no further into the murk. The image is a colour composite of data taken at wavelengths of 7 and 15 microns of an area of sky approximately 0.75 x 0.75 degrees."

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