'The Spider' nebula watches over young stars

The US space agency NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Two Micron All Sky Survey has spotted a nebula known as "the Spider".

Last Updated: Apr 15, 2016, 11:45 AM IST
'The Spider' nebula watches over young stars
Photo credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/2MASS

Washington: The US space agency NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Two Micron All Sky Survey has spotted a nebula known as "the Spider".

The Spider is officially named as IC 417 and lies near a much smaller object called NGC 1931. Together, the two are called "The Spider and the Fly" nebulae.

Nebulae are clouds of interstellar gas and dust where stars can form.

The Spider is located about 10,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Auriga and is a site of active star formation.

It resides in the outer part of the Milky Way, almost exactly in the opposite direction from the galactic center, the US space agency said in a statement.

Toward the right of centre, against the black background of space, one can see a bright group of stars called "Stock 8."

The light from this cluster carves out a bowl in the nearby dust clouds.

A group of students, teachers and scientists focused their attention on this region as part of the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program (NITARP) in 2015.

They worked on identifying new stars in this area.

The mission is a joint effort between the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

(With IANS inputs)