Located 1,000 light-years from Earth in the contellation Perseus, the reflection nebula NGC 1333 displays the beautiful chaos of a dense grouo of stars being born.Reflection nebulas are clouds of gas and dust in wich the dust shines by reflecting the light of nearby stars. The brightest reflection nebulas are places where new stars are being formed.
Most of thevisible light from the young stars in this region is obscured by the dense, dusty cloud in which they formed. With NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists can detect the infrared light from theseobjects, allowing a look through the dust to gain a more detailed understanding of how stars like our sun begin their lives.
The gaseous structure of NGC 1333 has been mapped at radio wavelengths andappears to support the large scale star formation observed. Lumpy and filamentary cloud structure exists in NGC 1333 indicative of recent collapse and fragmentation of the parent molecular cloudleading to the clustered mode of star formation observed in the nebula. In addition a series of cavities and shells exist presumably blown out by the outflows of infant protostars.
Because newly formedstars usually deeply embedded in regions of thick dust, the are difficult to detect at visible waveleghts. The visible light emitted by these stars is absorbed by dense material surrounding them.When viewed with the Spitzer Space Telescope’s infrared eyes, NGC 1333 becomes transparent, dramatically exposing the nebula’s newly born stars. Spitzer has revealed dozens of young stars in NGC 1333that are less than a million years old. The young stars in this nebula do not form a single cluster, but are slip between two sub-groups of stars. One group is in the lower left near the nebula. Theother group is to right.
The knotty yellow-green are glowing features are glowing shock fronts where jets of material, spewed from extremely young embryonic stars, are plowing into the cold, dense...