How do stars form? Cygnus-X is the largest know star forming region in our galaxy. To help study this complex issue, astronomers took a deep infrared image of Cygnus X using the orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope. In this false color image the hottest regions are colored blue. Large bubbles of hot gas are inflated by the winds of massive stars soon after they form. Astrophysicists believe that these expanding bubbles sweep up gas and sometimes even collide, creating regions dense enough to gravitationally collapse into more stars. The star factory Cygnus-X spans over 600 light years, contains over a million times the mass of our Sun, and shines prominently on wide angle infrared panoramas of the night sky. Cygnus-X is around 4,500 light years in the constellation of the Cygnus (The Swan). A few million years from now, the region will settle down, and a large open cluster of stars will remain.
Image Credit: NASA