The RCW120 nebula, the brightest star in the galaxy, is born

The emission nebula near the constellation Scorpius, called the scarlet birthplace of young stars, was captured by a ground-based observatory.

The National Institute of Infrared Optical Astronomy (NOIRLab) of the National Science Foundation (NFS) recently released the latest image of the bright line nebula “RCW120” captured by the SMARTS 0.9-meter telescope at the Observatory of Cerro Tololo in Chile via its official website.

About 4,300 light-years from Earth in the constellation Scorpius, RCW120 is also called Sh2-3. The striking red glow that makes the nebula look like a smoldering flame is caused by the ionization of hydrogen gas by ultraviolet radiation from a young, hot object.

Astronomers call this region, where the ionized hydrogen gas shines, HII (H2) or the region of ionized hydrogen. The HII region is known as the “cradle of stars” because it is where new stars are born made of gas and dust.

Bright line nebula (emission nebula) “RCW120”. The brightest star in the Milky Way seems to have been born here.

Young stars usually ionize part of the self-formed molecular cloud. Large hot stars are those that can emit enough energy to ionize most regions of the molecular cloud. Clusters of young stars are usually able to produce such a large amount of energy that bright banded nebulae are often seen around young open clusters.

The brightly streaked nebulae change color depending on their chemical composition and degree of ionization. Most interstellar gases contain hydrogen, and the energy required to ionize hydrogen is relatively low, so nebulae with bright streaks appear red. This red color comes from Hα rays, one of the wavelengths emitted when ions combine when ultraviolet light strikes a hydrogen atom.

However, in an environment where high energy is supplied, elements other than hydrogen are also ionized, so the Band Nebula may turn bright green or blue. That is, by examining the spectrum of the nebula, its chemical composition can be determined. Astronomers believe that 90% of the Bright Line Nebula is made up of hydrogen and the rest is made up of helium, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements.

One of the most beautiful nebulae is the Monkey Head Nebula (NGC 2174). Images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Among the brightest nebulae visible in the night sky, the Lake Nebula (M8, NGC 6523) and the Orion Nebula (M42, NGC 1976), about 5,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius , are beautiful. . The region of NGC 2174, also known as the “Monkey Head Nebula” in the constellation Orion, is also popular with space enthusiasts.

It should be mentioned that a newborn star was observed in “RCW120”, which could be one of the brightest stars in the Milky Way. According to NOIRLab, the star was captured during observations by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Herschel Space Telescope. At the time of discovery, the mass was already estimated at 8-10 times the mass of the Sun, and it is likely to absorb the abundant cosmic gas or dust around it and grow further over the next few hundred years. thousands of years. year.

Reporter Jeong Ian Angle

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