This stunning space wallpaper reveals W3, which is an enormous stellar nursery about 6200 light-years away in the Perseus Arm, one of the Milky Way galaxy’s main spiral arms, that hosts both low- and high-mass star formation. In this image, the low-mass protostars are seen as tiny yellow dots embedded in cool red filaments, while the highest-mass stars – with greater than eight times the mass of our Sun – emit intense radiation, heating up the gas and dust around them and appearing here in blue. The wallpaper shows a three-color image of the W3 giant molecular cloud combines Herschel bands at 70 μm (blue), 160 μm (green) and 250 μm (red). The image spans about 2 x 2 degrees. North is up and east is to the left. This image was released Sept. 17, 2012.
(Image: © ESA/PACS & SPIRE consortia, A. Rivera-Ingraham & P.G. Martin, Univ. Toronto, HOBYS Key Programme (F. Motte))
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