Friday, October 27, 2006

Snake in the sky

This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows what astronomers are referring to as a "snake" (upper left) and its surrounding stormy environment. The sinuous object is actually the core of a thick, sooty cloud large enough to swallow dozens of solar systems. In fact, astronomers say the "snake's belly" may be harboring beastly stars in the process of forming.

Yellow and orange dots throughout the image are monstrous developing stars; the red star on the "belly" of the snake is 20 to 50 times as massive as our sun. The blue dots are foreground stars.

The snake is located about 11,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius.

Read more at NASA linked here.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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