A Star is Born: New Telescope Captures the Formation of RCW 120

This is an amazing picture taken by the Herschel space observatory of a massive star forming — many times the size of our own sun.

The image of the bubble of “excited gas” was released near the European telescope’s first birthday in orbit. (This is different from the “excited gas” of elderly uncles over the holidays and seems to refer to the gathering of such cosmic gas in the formation of a star. It will be a big baby — about ten times the size of our sun.

RCW 120 is now a white blob that is only a few tens of thousands of years old but will eventually ignite a nuclear furnace at its core. It is not clear what one sends on such an occasion but delivery costs are likely to be a bit high.

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13 thoughts on “A Star is Born: New Telescope Captures the Formation of RCW 120”

  1. Space Pirate,

    You’re right – it’s a proto-star (and it’s still extremely cool – pun intended ;-))

    Buddha,

    You don’t understand what you’re talking about – clearly Neocons are proof that we evolved from muck…

  2. See what happens when you do a rush job? You end up with Neocons.

  3. Mespo, not only did it happen 6000 years ago, it only took six days.

  4. An invisible black star is not “born” yet, since it’s not fired up. US Supreme Court ordered that embryos are not human beings. Thus legal precedent orders that this star is not a star.

  5. You’ve obviously never been close enough to me the morning after one of Mr Ghanis daal curries. A truly cosmic event I can tell you.

    The BBC are currently doing a history of science documentary series that explains a lot of this stuff in laymans terms and is great viewing. This week I learned that Napolean had the first airforce – all to do with the discovery of Hydrogen and a means of mass production. But last week was about the history of astronomy from Tycho Brahe, via Kepler, Galileo and Newton up to Hubble. Excellent stuff.

  6. “This is different from the “excited gas” of elderly uncles over the holidays”

    Many thanks, Professor Turley – I needed a good laugh to start my day!

    Actually, I think the image is one of God passing gas since all this science-y stuff is so blasphemous.

  7. Nah, couldn’t happen. All that creation stuff happened 6000 years ago.

  8. Great. Some thoughts are difficult to unthink. I’ve read dozens if not hundreds of astronomy texts and never made that association for “excited gases”, Prof. Will the works of Carl Sagan ever be the same? Nay, I tell you. Nay. From this day forward, the study of astronomy will be a magnificent yet slightly more malodorous experience.

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