Image Credit X-ray: NASA/ CXC/CfA/ J.Forbrich et al. Infrared: NASA/ SSC/CfA/IRAC GTO Team

This stunner can be found 424 light-years away from Earth toward the constellation of Corona Australis. Called the Coronet Cluster, the aforementioned region is currently undergoing a rapid burst in star formation, similar to its cousins — which include the Orion Molecular Cloud, 30 Doradus (or the Tarantula Nebula), and the Pillars of Creation in M16 — all of which are more well-known than this stellar nursery.

At only 424 light-years away (isolated at the edge of the Gould Belt), the Coronet Cluster is much closer to us than Orion, which lies about 1,500 light-years from Earth, making Coronet almost 3.5 times closer to us than Orion.

Contained within the cluster are dozens of young, hot, energetic stars that are of various masses and in different phases of stellar evolution. All of these stars are still wrapped in their stellar cocoons, embedded in interstellar gas and dust clouds. Eventually, the stars will emerge from these clouds. In the meantime, they will continue spitting out energetic bursts of X-rays, which are thought to be produced from the coronas of the Coronet stars in the loose cluster.

This image is a composite stitched together using shots of the region taken in X-ray (purple) and infrared (orange, green, and cyan) from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope (respectively).

A larger version of this image can be found here. Various sizes of the image are available for download here.


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