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August 24, 2012

Originally posted on Research & Collections:

Soon I will be leaving the Earth-based realities of the Nature Research Center to observe massive forming stars beyond the Solar System, part of my research in exploring the chemistry of forming solar systems — environments much like our own Solar System was about 4.6 billion years ago.

An example of a stellar nursery is the Orion Nebula, a small fuzzy patch within the “sword” of the Orion constellation, but to astronomers a brilliant region of star and solar system formation. Some of the forming stars in my study come from within this nebula.

Orion nebula The Orion Nebula imaged with NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes. The Orion nebula is 1,500 light years from Earth. The green colors (Hubble in visible and UV light) correspond to hydrogen and sulfur gas that have been heated and ionized by the UV radiation from massive stars in the region. The Spitzer Space Telescope reveals…

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