A Cathedral of Stellar Nativity

The star that is the brightest object located just above the gas cloud in the picture is Pismis 24. Estimates made from distance, brightness and standard solar models had estimated Pismis 24’s mass over 200 times that of our Sun, nearly making it the record holder. Close inspection of images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, however, have shown that Pismis 24-1 derives its brilliant luminosity not from a single star but from a group of at least three. The component stars would still remain near 100 solar masses, making them among the more massive stars currently on record. Toward the bottom of the image, stars are still forming in the associated emission nebula NGC 6357 which resembles a Gothic cathedral from Earth’s point of view.

Image Credit: NASA

NGC 6357

ngc6357_hubble_960The nebula NGC 6357 is forming some of the most massive stars ever foundd. This Hubble image shows one of those massive star near the center of nebula hollowing out its own interstellar castle from the surrounding gas and dust. The surrounding matter is being pushed aside by the star’s light. The portion of NGC 6357 shown above spans about 10 light years. The nebula about 8,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Scorpius (the Scorpion).

Image Credit: NASA

A Cathedral of Stellar Nativity

The star that is the brightest object located just above the gas cloud in the picture is Pismis 24. Estimates made from distance, brightness and standard solar models had estimated Pismis 24’s mass over 200 times that of our Sun, nearly making it the record holder. Close inspection of images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, however, have shown that Pismis 24-1 derives its brilliant luminosity not from a single star but from a group of at least three. The component stars would still remain near 100 solar masses, making them among the more massive stars currently on record. Toward the bottom of the image, stars are still forming in the associated emission nebula NGC 6357 which resembles a Gothic cathedral from Earth’s point of view.

Image Credit: NASA