Cepheus B in 60 Seconds
Narrator (Megan Watzke, CXC): A new study from two of NASA's "Great Observatories" provides fresh insight into how some stars are born, along with a beautiful new image of a stellar nursery in our own Milky Way Galaxy. While astronomers have long understood that stars and planets form from the collapse of a cloud of gas, the main causes of this process have remained mysterious. Now, research on an object known as Cepheus B, a cloud of hydrogen about 2400 light years from Earth, helps answer that question. X-rays seen by Chandra show where the young stars in the cloud are, while infrared emission observed by Spitzer reveals whether these stars contain planet-forming disks around them. Taken together, these data reveal that radiation from massive stars is triggering a new generation of stars to be born. This happens more often than previously thought.