Serpens Cloud Core


Serpens Cloud CoreStars that are just beginning to coalesce out of cooling swaths of dust and gas can be seen in this image from the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). Different wavelengths of infrared light has been color-coded, revealing young stars in orange and yellow, and a central cloud of gas in blue. This area is obscured in visible-light, but infrared light can travel through the dust, allowing a peek inside the stellar hatchery, but the dark region to the left of center is surrounded by so much dust that the infrared light is blocked also. Stars are just beginning to form in such dark spaces.

This star-forming region is called the Serpens Cloud Core. It’s located about 750 light-years away in Serpens (the Serpent), a constellation named after its resemblance to a snake. The region is noteworthy because it only contains stars of relatively low to moderate mass and lacks any of the massive and incredibly bright stars found in larger star-forming regions like the Orion nebula. The Sun is a moderate-mass star.

Image Credit: NASA

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