An image of the Rosette Nebula complete with swirling clouds of gas which prove to be the ingredients for stars has been released by NASA. The nebula is 5,000 light-years away from Earth, and in the midst of the clouds are small dots of light. These bright spots are actually baby stars, and over the course of thousands and millions of years, they will grow to be up to ten times larger than the Sun.
Stars begin to form in clusters as all the gas and dust is condensed, providing the right ingredients.
When they are fully formed, they begin to move away from their birth place.
NASA’s Herschel Space Observatory snapped the image 10 years ago, but the space agency has re-released it to mark the decade anniversary of the stunning photograph.
NASA said: “This 2010 image from the Herschel Space Observatory shows dust clouds associated with the Rosette Nebula, a stellar nursery about 5,000 light-years from Earth in the Monoceros, or Unicorn, constellation.
“Herschel collected the infrared light given out by dust. The bright smudges are dusty cocoons containing massive embryonic stars, which will grow up to 10 times the mass of our Sun.
“The small spots near the center of the image are lower mass stellar embryos.
“The nebula itself is located to the right of the picture, along with its massive cluster of stars.”
NASA has been sharing old images while its missions come to a standstill in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
NASA has had to suspend work on its Moon mission in light of the pandemic, after an employee at the Stennis Space Center in New Orleans, where it is testing the SLS rockets, came down with coronavirus.
NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said: “The change at Stennis was made due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community around the centre, the number of self-isolation cases within our workforce there, and one confirmed case among our Stennis team.
“NASA will temporarily suspend production and testing of Space Launch System and Orion hardware.
“The NASA and contractors teams will complete an orderly shutdown that puts all hardware in a safe condition until work can resume.”
Coronavirus has also put a temporary halt to a joint mission from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, who had plans to send the ExoMars 2020 rover to Mars this year.
However, due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, which has seen more than one million people infected, the launch has been postponed for two years.
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