Video credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon, T. Borders, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (Viz 3D team, STScI)
"This movie presents a visualization of the star-forming region known as S106. This unique three-dimensional view illustrates and emphasizes that many of the objects contained within astronomical images are not at the same distance, but, in fact, spread across light-years of space. The Hubble image is augmented with additional field-of-view from the Subaru Infrared Telescope. The stars and the lobes of glowing gas from the Hubble/Subaru two-dimensional image have been separated and sculpted using both scientific knowledge and artistic license to create the depth in the movie. Of note, the relative distances between stars and the nebula have been greatly compressed."
"This devastatingly beautiful image shows the birth pangs of a massive star. Called IRS 4 (for Infrared Source 4; it was first seen in IR images), it’s the really bright star just below center where the two blue lobes come together. It’s a bruiser, an O-type star with at least 15 times the Sun’s mass — 30 octillion tons! — and is a staggering 10,000 times as bright. It’s still in the process of forming, but it’s nearly there.
Located about 2000 light years away, IRS 4 is surrounded by an enormous cloud of gas and dust that may have a mass as high as 25,000 times the mass of the Sun. When the star first ignited, fusing hydrogen into helium in its core, the vast amount of energy it started pouring out lit up the cloud in the immediate vicinity around it. Most of the cloud is still dark and cannot be seen here, but everything within a few light years of the star is being illuminated, if not ionized, by the fierce ultraviolet light from the star."
- Phil Plait
Music: “Funeral Canticle”
Written by John Tavener and Mother Thekla
Performed by George Mosley, Paul Goodwin
and the Academy of Ancient Music