Best of AOP - Diffuse Nebulae

NGC 7129

NGC 7129 is a star-forming region that contains many interesting features. Astronomers estimate that many of the bright stars shown here are younger than 1 million years old! These "baby" stars are very energetic and emit copious amounts of radiation that break apart (photodissociate) clouds of natal gas that surrounds them. One edge of this newly formed cavity glows pink due to the excited hydrogen gas in the region. In addition, a small number of very red structures indicate regions where new stars are forming (but are not yet visible directly). These regions are often outflows of gas called Herbig Haro (HH) objects. (The crescent shaped object near the top of the nebula is HH103). Finally, energetic regions like this can often produce molecular masers. A maser (like a laser) is a coherent signal of light, generally at microwave wavelengths. In this case the molecules in this gas region are excited (vibrate) by high-energy photons and re-emit light (microwaves) to us in a preferential manner. The fascinating thing is that the molecules in question are quite important (to us): H2O (water!).

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Last Updated: 11-Jun-2014

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About This Image

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Equipment

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.

Luminance = 135 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 40 minutes binned 2x2

Green = 40 minutes binned 2x2

Blue = 40 minutes binned 2x2

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