Skip all navigation and jump to content Jump to site navigation Jump to section navigation.
NASA Logo - Goddard Space Flight Center + Visit NASA.gov
HOME PROJECTS RESOURCES SEARCH MAP

+ Advanced Search
Home
Home
View Most Recently Released Imagery
View Gallery of Imagery: A topical collection of SVS Imagery
Search Imagery by the keywords assigned to it
Search Imagery by the instruments that supplied data for a visualization product
Search Imagery by the series of visualizations that have been produced
Search Imagery by the scientist providing the data used in a visualization product
Search Imagery by the animator that created the product
Search Imagery by the identification number assigned to the visualization product
See other search options





  + RSS Feeds
  + Podcasts
blank image
Previous Animation Number   Next Animation Number
Gamma rays in the Heart of Cygnus

Located in the vicinity of the second-magnitude star Gamma Cygni, the Cygnus X star-forming region was discovered as a diffuse radio source by surveys in the 1950s. Now, a study using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope finds that the tumult of star birth and death in Cygnus X has managed to corral fast-moving particles called cosmic rays.

Cosmic rays are subatomic particles -- mainly protons -- that move through space at nearly the speed of light. In their journey across the galaxy, the particles are deflected by magnetic fields, which scramble their paths and make it impossible to backtrack the particles to their sources. Yet when cosmic rays collide with interstellar gas, they produce gamma rays -- the most energetic and penetrating form of light -- that travel to us straight from the source.

The Cygnus X star factory is located about 4,500 light-years away and is believed to contain enough raw material to make two million stars like our sun. Within it are many young star clusters and several sprawling groups of related O- and B-type stars, called OB associations. One, called Cygnus OB2, contains 65 O stars -- the most massive, luminous and hottest type -- and nearly 500 B stars. These massive stars possess intense outflows that clear out cavities in the region's gas clouds. A tangled web of shockwaves associated with this process impedes the movement of cosmic rays throughout the region. Cosmic rays striking gas nuclei or photons from starlight produce the gamma rays Fermi detects.

The release on NASA.gov is here.

Share: Share via E-mail E-mail   Share on TwitterTwitter
More information on this topic available at:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/news/cygnus-cocoon.html

Tour the Cygnus X star factory. This video opens with wide optical and infrared images of the constellation Cygnus, then zooms into the Cygnus X region using radio, infrared and gamma-ray images. Fermi LAT shows that gamma rays fill cavities in the star-forming clouds. The emission occurs when fast-moving cosmic rays strike hot gas and starlight. Watch this video on the NASAexplorer YouTube channel.    Tour the Cygnus X star factory. This video opens with wide optical and infrared images of the constellation Cygnus, then zooms into the Cygnus X region using radio, infrared and gamma-ray images. Fermi LAT shows that gamma rays fill cavities in the star-forming clouds. The emission occurs when fast-moving cosmic rays strike hot gas and starlight.

Watch this video on the NASAexplorer YouTube channel.


Duration: 40.0 seconds
Available formats:
  1280x720 (59.94 fps) QT         627 MB
  1280x720 (59.94 fps) QT         129 MB
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) QT         24 MB
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   18 MB
  1280x720 (30 fps) QT         12 MB
  960x720 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   11 MB
  1280x720 (29.97 fps) WMV         9 MB
  1280x720 (59.94 fps) QT         8 MB
  640x360 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   5 MB
  320x180 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   2 MB
  1280x720   TIFF         1011 KB
  320x180     PNG           82 KB
How to play our movies


Wide-field optical view of the Cygnus region. Credit: Axel Mellinger, Central Michigan University    Wide-field optical view of the Cygnus region.

Credit: Axel Mellinger, Central Michigan University

Available formats:
  1620 x 984       TIFF       4 MB
  1620 x 984       JPEG   987 KB
  4952 x 3264     JPEG       5 MB


This image combines observations at radio wavelengths (74 and 21 cm, colored rose and green, respectively) with data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (60 and 25 microns, shaded turquoise and blue, respectively). The expanding shell of the Gamma Cygni supernova remnant, about 80 light-years across, stands out clearly in the radio data as a ruffled brown disk (upper right). White knots reveal the presence of newly formed stars embedded in dense gas. Diffuse ionized gas blown into delicate filaments and arcs by the outflows of massive stars appear green. Hot dust, which fills the entire region, shows up as blue. Credit: Composed by Jayanne English (CGPS/Univ. of Manitoba) with support by A. R. Taylor (CGPS/U. of Calgary)    This image combines observations at radio wavelengths (74 and 21 cm, colored rose and green, respectively) with data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (60 and 25 microns, shaded turquoise and blue, respectively). The expanding shell of the Gamma Cygni supernova remnant, about 80 light-years across, stands out clearly in the radio data as a ruffled brown disk (upper right). White knots reveal the presence of newly formed stars embedded in dense gas. Diffuse ionized gas blown into delicate filaments and arcs by the outflows of massive stars appear green. Hot dust, which fills the entire region, shows up as blue.

Credit: Composed by Jayanne English (CGPS/Univ. of Manitoba) with support by A. R. Taylor (CGPS/U. of Calgary)

Available formats:
  1617 x 1617     TIFF       2 MB
  1617 x 1617     JPEG   425 KB


Cygnus X hosts many young stellar groupings, including the OB2 and OB9 associations and the cluster NGC 6910. The combined outflows and ultraviolet radiation from the region's numerous massive stars have heated and pushed gas away from the clusters, producing cavities of hot, lower-density gas. In this 8-micron infrared image, ridges of denser gas mark the boundaries of the cavities. Bright spots within these ridges show where stars are forming today. Labeled. Credit: NASA/IPAC/MSX    Cygnus X hosts many young stellar groupings, including the OB2 and OB9 associations and the cluster NGC 6910. The combined outflows and ultraviolet radiation from the region's numerous massive stars have heated and pushed gas away from the clusters, producing cavities of hot, lower-density gas. In this 8-micron infrared image, ridges of denser gas mark the boundaries of the cavities. Bright spots within these ridges show where stars are forming today. Labeled.

Credit: NASA/IPAC/MSX

Available formats:
  1617 x 1617     JPEG       2 MB


Cygnus X hosts many young stellar groupings, including the OB2 and OB9 associations and the cluster NGC 6910. The combined outflows and ultraviolet radiation from the region's numerous massive stars have heated and pushed gas away from the clusters, producing cavities of hot, lower-density gas. In this 8-micron infrared image, ridges of denser gas mark the boundaries of the cavities. Bright spots within these ridges show where stars are forming today. Unlabeled. Credit: NASA/IPAC/MSX    Cygnus X hosts many young stellar groupings, including the OB2 and OB9 associations and the cluster NGC 6910. The combined outflows and ultraviolet radiation from the region's numerous massive stars have heated and pushed gas away from the clusters, producing cavities of hot, lower-density gas. In this 8-micron infrared image, ridges of denser gas mark the boundaries of the cavities. Bright spots within these ridges show where stars are forming today. Unlabeled.

Credit: NASA/IPAC/MSX

Available formats:
  1617 x 1617     TIFF       2 MB
  1617 x 1617     JPEG   787 KB


Gamma-ray emission detected by Fermi LAT fills bubbles of hot gas created by the most massive stars in Cygnus X. The turbulence and shock waves produced by these stars make it more difficult for high-energy cosmic rays to traverse the region. When the particles strike gas nuclei or photons of starlight, gamma rays result. Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration/I. A. Grenier and L. Tibaldo    Gamma-ray emission detected by Fermi LAT fills bubbles of hot gas created by the most massive stars in Cygnus X. The turbulence and shock waves produced by these stars make it more difficult for high-energy cosmic rays to traverse the region. When the particles strike gas nuclei or photons of starlight, gamma rays result.

Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration/I. A. Grenier and L. Tibaldo

Available formats:
  1617 x 1617     TIFF   876 KB


This image merges an infrared view of gas clouds in Cygnus X with the Fermi LAT gamma-ray data. Credit: NASA/DOE/LAT Collaboration and IPAC/MSX    This image merges an infrared view of gas clouds in Cygnus X with the Fermi LAT gamma-ray data.

Credit: NASA/DOE/LAT Collaboration and IPAC/MSX

Available formats:
  1617 x 1617     JPEG       1 MB

Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10878
Animation Number:10878
Completed:2011-11-21
Animator:Scott Wiessinger (USRA) (Lead)
Video Editor:Scott Wiessinger (USRA)
Producer:Scott Wiessinger (USRA)
Writer:Francis Reddy (SPSYS)
Platform/Sensor/Data Set:Fermi
Series:Astrophysics Visualizations
 Astrophysics Stills
Goddard TV Tape:G2011-126 -- Gamma rays in the Heart of Cygnus
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. However, each image should be credited as indicated above.
 
Keywords:
SVS >> Gamma Ray
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Infrared
SVS >> Satellite
SVS >> Astrophysics
SVS >> Edited Feature
SVS >> Space
SVS >> Fermi
SVS >> Supernova
SVS >> Star
SVS >> Space Science
 
 


Back to Top
Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

USA.gov logo - the U.S. Government's official Web portal. + Privacy Policy and Important Notices
+ Reproduction Guidelines
NASA NASA Official:
Content Contact:
Curator: