The Starburst Region NGC 3603

The Starburst Region NGC 3603
From The European Southern Observatory
This is a false-color infrared image of the starburst region NGC 3603 that is composed from three exposures obtained with the multi-mode ISAAC instrument of the first 8.2-m VLT Unit Telescope (ANTU) in April 1999. Three near-infrared filters were used, Js (wavelength 1.24 µm; here reproduced in blue), H (1.65 µm; green) and Ks (2.17 µm; red). The intensities are scaled in logarithmic units and the field measures 3.4 arcmin x 3.4 arcmin, or about 20 light-years x 20 light-years at the distance of the nebula. North is up; East to the left.
The central cluster is the densest concentration of massive stars known in the Milky Way. It hosts more than 50 hot O-type stars. The brightest star in the field is the red supergiant IRS4; it is located about 80 arcsec NE of the center. About 18 arcsec N of the center are the ring nebula and the bipolar outflows around the blue supergiant Sher25. The photo also shows three proplyd-like objects that have been recently discovered; they are similar to those seen in Orion Nebula, but 20-30 times more extended. About 1 arcmin SSE of the central cluster are seen the brightest members of the deeply embedded proto cluster IRS9. The nebulosities to the South and West of the center appear to be red because of strong emission in the Bracket-gamma spectral line from hydrogen atoms at 2.166 µm. The brightness and colors of a star are an indication of its mass and age.
Based on press release with ESO PR Photo 38a/99
Catalog #: Photo 38a/99
Target Name: The Starburst Region NGC 3603a

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Last Modified On: Sunday, December 16, 2000