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RCW 49 (Emission Nebula + Open Cluster)


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RCW 49
Emission Nebula (散光星雲) + Open Cluster (散開星団)
H II region


別名 (Other names)
GUM 29

星座 (Constellation)
ケンタウルス座 (Cen) (Centaurus)

距離 (Distance)
13,700光年 (13,700 light-years)

RCW 49 is an emission nebula and open cluster located 13,700 light years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus.

RCW 49 (Emission Nebula + Open Cluster) : Picture

Cosmic Construction Zone RCW 49
Cosmic Construction Zone RCW 49
(C) E. Churchwell (Univ. Wisconsin), JPL, Caltech, NASA
Stars and planets appear to be under construction in dusty nebula RCW 49. This Spitzer Space Telescope false-color infrared view of the nearby stellar nursery shows that known, hot stars are well on their way to clearing out the nebula's central regions. But it also uncovers more than 300 newborn stars, seen here strewn throughout the cosmic dust clouds and filaments. The infrared data indicate the likely presence of protoplanetary discs around some of the infant suns, among the faintest and farthest potential planet-forming discs ever observed. Such exciting results give further support to the idea that planet-forming discs are a natural part of a star's evolution. A mere 14,000 light-years away toward the constellation Centaurus, the industrious RCW 49 is about 350 light-years across.

Young Star Cluster Westerlund 2
Young Star Cluster Westerlund 2
(C) X-ray; Y.Nazé, G.Rauw, J.Manfroid (Université de Liège), CXC, NASA
Infrared; E.Churchwell (University of Wisconsin), JPL, Caltech, NASA
Dusty stellar nursery RCW 49 surrounds young star cluster Westerlund 2 in this remarkable composite skyscape from beyond the visible spectrum of light. Infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope is shown in black and white, complementing the Chandra X-ray image data (in false color) of the hot energetic stars within the cluster's central region. Looking toward the grand southern constellation Centaurus, both views reveal stars and structures hidden from optical telescopes by obscuring dust. Westerlund 2 itself is a mere 2 million years old or less, and contains some of our galaxy's most luminous, massive and therefore short-lived stars. The infrared signatures of proto-planetary disks have also been identified in the intense star forming region. At the cluster's estimated distance of 20,000 light-years, the square marking the Chandra field of view would be about 50 light-years on a side.

Star formation in RCW49
Star formation in RCW49
(C) Spitzer Space Telescope

RCW 49
RCW 49
(C) NASA

Spitzer image of star formation in RCW49 in 3D
Spitzer image of star formation in RCW49 in 3D
(C) Tom Caldwell & the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator
You need to use the defocused eye technique to superimpose these and see this image in 3D. After a few seconds the effect becomes quite stunning. Best viewed full screen.

It seems that, for those who can master the trick, the eye-brain will automatically create a 3D effect from any two images placed side by side which need have only small differences.

Here the right image has been sharpened and the colours enhanced using Photoshop CS3's Lab mode.

RCW 49 RCW 49
RCW 49
(C) NASA
RCW 49
(C) NASA
RCW 49 RCW 49
RCW 49
(C) Spitzer Space Telescope
RCW 49
(C) NASA
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