More Images of Cepheus B
Labeled Image of Cepheus B
A new study suggests that star formation in Cepheus B is mainly triggered by radiation from one bright, massive star (HD 217086) outside the molecular cloud. According to the particular model of triggered star formation that was tested -- called the radiation-driven implosion (RDI) model -- radiation from this massive star drives a compression wave into the cloud triggering star formation in the interior, while evaporating the cloud's outer layers. This labeled version of the image shows important regions in and around Cepheus B. The "inner layer" shows the Cepheus B region itself, where the stars are mostly about one million years old and about 70-80% of them have protoplanetary disks. The "intermediate layer" shows the area immediately next to Cepheus B, where the stars are two to three million years old and about 60% of them have disks, while in the "outer layer" the stars are about three to five million years old and about 30% of them have disks. This increase in age as the stars are further away from Cepheus B is exactly what is predicted from the RDI model of triggered star formation.
X-ray (NASA/CXC/PSU/K. Getman et al.); IR (NASA/JPL-Caltech/CfA/J. Wang et al.))
Chandra X-ray and Spitzer Infrared Images of Cepheus B
X-rays from Chandra and infrared data from Spitzer reveals a beautiful scene of star formation within our Galaxy. There are hundreds of very young stars inside and around the cloud -- ranging from a few millions years old outside the cloud to less than a million in the interior -- making it an important testing ground for star formation. By combining the data from these two observatories, researchers have shown that radiation from massive stars may trigger the formation of many more stars than previously thought..
(Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/PSU/K. Getman et al.); IR (NASA/JPL-Caltech/CfA/J. Wang et al.))
Return to Cepheus B (August 12, 2009)
Cepheus B with Scale Bar
(Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/PSU/K. Getman et al.); IR (NASA/JPL-Caltech/CfA/J. Wang et al.)