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Color Mapping

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08.14.06

Baby Stars in the Witch Head Nebula Revealed by Spitzer

Eight hundred light-years away in the Orion constellation, a gigantic murky cloud called the "Witch Head" nebula is brewing baby stars.

The stellar infants are revealed as pink dots in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Wisps of green in the cloud are carbon-rich molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are found on barbecue grills and in automobile exhaust on Earth.

This image was obtained as part of the Spitzer Space Telescope Research Program for Teachers and Students, involving high school teachers and their students from across the United States.

The infrared image is a three-color composite, in which light with a wavelength of 4.5 microns is blue, 8.0-micron light is green, and 24-micron light is red.