Science & Tech

Scientists find X-rays from stellar winds that may play significant role in galactic evolution

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Researchers get good look at energy forces in star-forming region

The Rosette Nebula is a nursery for stars. For hundreds of years, astronomers have been looking at this star-forming region and wondering about the forces at work there. Now, scientists using the Chandra X-ray Observatory have determined that colliding stellar winds create turmoil in this part of space, superheating gas in the region to 6 million degrees. The gas radiates as X-rays, which were observed by the research team. Where the energy in such star-forming regions comes from has long been a mystery. “A ghostly glow of diffuse X-ray emission pervades the Rosette Nebula and perhaps many other similar star-forming regions throughout the galaxy,” said Leisa Townsley, team leader and senior research associate in astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University. “We now have a new view of the engine lighting the beautiful Rosette Nebula and new evidence for how the interstellar medium may be energized.”