From the 2Mass Image Gallery
The red nebular region directly above the brightest star in this three-color composite image, which covers 14.6 arcmin by 13.4 arcmin on the sky, is the high mass star formation complex known as K3-50. This young star cluster is located in the constellation Cygnus at a distance of about 8700 pc (28000 light years). While the Sun is presently about 5 billion years old, this cluster is only around 10 to 100 thousand years old. Stars are generally considered massive if they are 10 times the mass of the Sun or larger. For this complex at least three of the stars are larger than 60 times the mass of the Sun. In addition at least four other massive stars are present in this region. High mass stars typically form in complex clusters, and this region is no exception. K3-50 is comprised of at least five different regions of high mass star formation. The southernmost region is visible at optical wavelengths and is one of the more evolved regions in the complex. Progressing northward, the regions of star formation are located deeper in the parent molecular cloud. Most of the nebular emission seen here is only detectable by observing in near-infrared, or even longer, wavelengths. Image mosaic by S. Van Dyk (IPAC). Caption provided by E. Howard (UMass).
The images are three-band composites constructed from 2MASS Atlas Images. As they are infrared images, they must be mapped into false colors: J light (1.2 µm) into blue, H light (1.6 µm) in green, and Ks light (2.2 µm) into red. The Atlas Images are produced in the 2MASS Production Processing System. North is up and east is to the left.
The text is based on accompanying on-line materials.
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Last Modified On: Saturday, December 16, 2000