NGC 281

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Chandra X-ray
Observatory Center
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
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NGC 281: A region of active star formation about 10,000 light years from Earth.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/S.Wolk et al; Optical: NSF/AURA/WIYN/Univ. of Alaska/T.A.Rector)

Caption: A composite image of X-ray (purple) and optical data of NGC 281 (red and yellow) reveals a region with very young stars and some actively forming. The Chandra data show more than 300 individual X-ray sources, most of which are associated with the central star cluster. The edge-on aspect of NGC 281 allows scientists to study the effects of powerful X-rays on the gas in the region, the raw material for star formation.

Scale: Image is 29 arcmin across.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory