Contains:  Extremely wide field
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Widefield Mosaic of the Cygnus-X Region - NASA Spitzer Infra Red Space Telescope, 


            Doug Griffith

Widefield Mosaic of the Cygnus-X Region - NASA Spitzer Infra Red Space Telescope

Technical card

Basic astrometry details job: 3623395

Resolution: 2048x1371

Data source: Professional, scientific grade data


Hidden to human eyes and optical telescopes, lies an intricate network of glowing clouds where thousands of stars are being born. This region is known as the Cygnus-X complex. At a distance of about 4500 light years from Earth, Cygnus-X is the richest stellar nursery in our cosmic neighbourhood and is home to a large number of young, massive stars. Although an even larger number of low-mass stars are forming throughout the region, it is the presence of so many massive stars, with their powerful winds and copious amounts of ionising radiation released into their surroundings, that forges most of the structure that can be seen across the image. Several bubble-like structures are visible in the image: these are being carved by these nearby massive young stars.

In optical light this region looks almost completely dark, but in infrared light the interstellar material is seen to glow brightly, arranged in rings, columns and bubbles.

G79.29+0.46 is a supergiant star (located close to the centre of this image) and is situated between two of the brightest stars (Deneb and Sadr ) of the constellation Cygnus (the Swan). It is the red circular object near the centre of the image. 79.29+0.46 is an extremely rare type of very bright, unstable, volatile star called a Luminous Blue Variable star (LVB).

The image is composed of 3 separate image exposures taken at three different IR wavelengths, 5.8 μm; 8 μm; and 24 μm. These different wavelength images have been mapped to red, green and blue channels to create the colour image seen here.

Explanation Credits:
ESA's Herschel Space Observatory

Data acquisition: Spitzer Space Telescope, NASA
Data processing: Doug Griffith
Image: RGB image per colour mapping below:
.... red channel: 24 μm Spitzer
.... green channel: 8 μm Spitzer, + (.5*red Spitzer + .5*blue Spitzer)
.... blue channel: 5.8 μm Spitzer
Processing software: ESA/ESO/NASA Fits Liberator 3, Pixinsight, Photoshop CS6

Processing Note:
The original NASA colour mapping resulted in a very green image, which I found aesthetically displeasing. I have re-mapped the Spitzer data; and adjusted the intensity of the three channels in Pixinsight in order to create the RGB colour image presented here.



Widefield Mosaic of the Cygnus-X Region - NASA Spitzer Infra Red Space Telescope, 


            Doug Griffith