NGC 6334: Shedding Light On Starburst Regions

Stars are formed in massive clouds of gas that are being compressed by some nearby event. Over time, the region will be consumed by the forming stars, leaving a cluster that will eventually drift apart. But what starts this process in the first place?

Often these regions of star formations — known as starburst regions — are found in distant galaxies where the activity level is very high. But this presents a problem: because of the great distance, identifying smaller stars is difficult. And these low mass stars are an important piece to the puzzle.

To get a better idea about the true stellar population of the starburst regions, and to perhaps even gain insight into what types of events trigger the rapid star formation, researchers look to regions of the Milky Way galaxy that might be undergoing a similar process.

See more on the NOAO Press Release

and also on the article by John P. Mills Ph.D. for – Your Universe Online

This image of emission nebula NGC6334 (the Cat’s Paw Nebula), a star-forming region in the constellation Scorpius, was taken in 2007 using the Mosaic-2 imager on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. The colors of the nebula are reddened by intervening dust in the plane of the Milky Way galaxy. The image was taken as part of a continuing campaign of public-release images using both NOAO 4-meter telescopes. Credit: T.A. Rector / University of Alaska Anchorage, T. Abbott and NOAO / AURA/NSF. See more on the NOAO Press Release