Cat’s Paw nebula blows bubbles


New images reveal a multi-coloured star-forming extravaganza.


The Cat's Paw Nebula, captured by NASA.

The Cat's Paw Nebula, captured by NASA.

NASA/JPL-Caltech
Vast red bubbles dominate the latest image of the Cat’s Paw Nebula, a huge star-forming region in the Milky Way, 90 light-years wide and at least 4200 light-years from Earth.

The image, taken by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope comprise heated, pressurised gas surrounding newly formed stars. The green areas represent fluorescence created when radiation from hot stars collide with large molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Spitzer uses the infrared part of the spectrum to gather its data. The image was compiled using information gathered by two of its onboard instruments, the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) and the Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS).

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