Release 85 of 106

Hubble Snaps "Family Portrait"

Release date: Jun 9, 1997 12:45 PM (EDT)
Release type: American Astronomical Society Meeting

The Hubble telescope's infrared camera has peered into the Cone Nebula, revealing a stunning picture of six babies, Sun-like stars surrounding their mother, a bright, massive star. Known as NGC 2264 IRS, the massive star triggered the creation of these baby stars by releasing high-speed particles of dust and gas during its formative years.

The image on the left, taken in visible light by a terrestrial telescope, shows the Cone Nebula, located 2,500 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros. The white box pinpoints the location of the star nursery, which cannot be seen in this image because dust and gas obscure it. The infrared image on the right shows the massive star ? the brightest source in the region ? and the stars formed by its outflow.