NGC 206

NGC 206 is a large OB association of very luminous stars in the outer spiral arms of the Andromeda Galaxy. It is by far one of the most active such collections of stars to be found in our local neighborhood. Studies of this region of the Andromeda galaxy seem to indicate that this part of the its spiral arm was unusually dense with gas, the building blocks of these stars. Some theories even assert that this region is actually the blending of two spiral arms which would represent the compression of this gas into a denser region and fuel the extreme starformation that we see today. The gravitational influence of this gas/star cluster region actually affects the overall structure of the disk of the Andromeda galaxy. These stars formed around 20 million years ago and have produced stellar winds that have now blown away much of their natal gas. Pictures of the Andromeda galaxy in the radio wavelengths of light (21cm line) show a large hole (1,200 x 2,400 light years) that surrounds this cluster. Other images of ionized hydrogen gas show a glowing bubble whose brightness agrees with the number of illuminating stars in the cluster. Had the stars not blown away the gas, 2 million solars masses of it, many more stars could have formed here.
Click on image for larger version.


20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.4
Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount
SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

L R G B color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = 30 minutes binned 1x1
Red = 20 minutes binned 1x1
Green = 20 minutes binned 1x1
Blue = 20 minutes binned 1x1

  • Digital Development (DDP) via Maxim/DL was also used in order to display the the very dim and very bright details of the image simultaneously.

  • This is a relatively short exposure that does reveal much noise with this aggressive choice of display.
  • Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF

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    Updated: 07/09/2005