Planck observes star formation
Planck Views Perseus and Orion Star-Formation Regions
credit: ESA/LFI & HFI Consortia (imagery), Michael Eugene Adams (animation)
An active star-formation region in the constellation Perseus, as seen By Planck. This image covers a region of 30° × 30°. It is a three-color combination constructed from three of Planck's nine frequency channels: 30, 353 and 857 GHz.
Star formation takes place hidden behind veils of dust but that doesn't mean we cant see through them. Where optical telescopes see only black space, Planck's microwave eyes reveal myriad glowing structures of dust and gas.
In contrast to Orion, the Perseus region is a less vigorous star-forming area but, as Planck shows in the other image, there is still plenty going on.
The images both show three physical processes taking place in the dust and gas of the interstellar medium. Planck can show us each process separately. At the lowest frequencies, Planck maps emission caused by high-speed electrons interacting with the Galaxys magnetic fields. An additional diffuse component comes from spinning dust particles emitting at these frequencies.