If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, look west after sunset in winter … to the constellation Cygnus the Swan… and you’ll be staring right into a baby-boom of young stars. Radio astronomers in the 1950s first noticed this active region, naming it Cygnus X. Now, using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, scientists have discovered that the huge stars of Cygnus X rapidly accelerate cosmic rays; …broadcasting a gripping narrative of their rapid lives and deaths. Each massing more than 40 times larger – and burning 8 times hotter – than our Sun, these type O and type B monster-stars, clustering together, blast intense radiation: Their cosmic rays crash headlong into clouds of interstellar gas, spawning super-high voltage gamma rays, some of which come straight at us, giving astrophysicists an unprecedented look at the inner workings of this spectacular stellar nursery.
The Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope has detected intense radiation emitted from Cygnus X system stars that are forty times larger than our Sun. This data is giving astronomers a never before seen look at this amazing stellar nursery.
Credit: SPACE.com / NASA / Music: John Serrie