The complicated filaments of dust and gas that make up this astrophysical nursery home to more than 600 stars in formation. This province was first observed by the Herschel space observatory of ESA.
The province colored blue nebula, known as W40, or Sharpless 2-64, is located 1,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Aquila,and covers an area of about 25 light years. This is a huge cloud of hydrogen gas illuminated by the radiation emitted by at least three young stars hidden within.
This nebula is expanding; compressing it passes the surrounding gas, triggering the formation of a second generation of stars. It is estimated that in the area covered by this image are about 600 clusters of dust and gas, most of which end up collapsing to form new stars. About 150 protostars have already reached the final stages of his training. As stabilize the fusion reactions will turn on their cores, becoming adult stars.
W40 is part of a giant ring of stars and clouds of star formation known as the "Gould Belt ', which seems to surround the night sky. His stellar nurseries are one of the key objectives of the Herschel mission, which aims to compare the formation of stars in each region to determine how it affects the local environment in the process.