|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.
RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.4
Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount
SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel
Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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