Best of AOP - Star Clusters

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 collections of such stars to be found in our local neighborhood. Studies in this region of the Andromeda galaxy seem to indicate that this part of 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 star formation 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 (1200 x 2400 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 solar masses of it, many more stars could have formed here.

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Last Updated: 25-Jun-2014

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About This Image

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20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.1

Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

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

the image simultaneously.

Luminance = 30 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 20 minutes binned 1x1

Green = 20 minutes binned 1x1

Blue = 20 minutes binned 1x1

Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF