3,300 light years away from us, in the constellation Cepheus, lies a very young star cluster, most likely less than 1 million years old. These young stars are extremely energetic and emit copious amounts of radiation, which has created the bubble shape in the reflection nebula shown in this image. The stars have blown away the nascent gas shell that enshrouded their earliest moments. In fact, energy from these stars has ionized one wall of the shell, and can be seen glowing red. New stars, such as the ones in 7129 often have accretion disks surrounding them. As gas inflows into the young star, (often a hot, pre-main sequence star such as a T-tauri star) a jet of plasma is emitted at each pole of the star at supersonic speeds. These jets are usually in the UV and X-ray spectrum and cannot be seen visually. When they collide with the interstellar medium, they ionize the gases and form Herbig-Haro objects. These are the red worm-like objects surrounding the nebula. The largest one to the right of the nebula is HH103. Magakian et al, recently discovered 25 new stars in this region, 16 of which are believed to be creating HH objects. (Search for HH Objects and Emission Stars in Star Formation Regions. III. PMS Stars in NGC 7129, Astrophysics, v. 47, Issue 4, p. 519-529 (2004)).
Image Acquisition info:
Location: Starlodge Observatory
Date: September, 2008
Telescope: Planewave CDK 12.5
Camera: SBIG STL 11000