Sunday, January 17, 2021

Skull and Crossbones Nebula

NGC 2467, nicknamed the "Skull and Crossbones Nebula  is a star-forming region whose appearance has occasionally also been likened to that of a colorful mandrill. It includes areas where large clouds of hydrogen gas incubate new stars. This region was one of the areas featured in the book Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images by Terence Dickinson.

NGC 2467 had long been considered to be the nucleus of the Puppis I association. However, NGC 2467 does not represent a distinct open cluster; rather, it represents a superimposition of several stellar groups along the same approximate line of sight that have distinctly different distances and distinctly different radial velocities. One of these is a young and very distant group beyond Puppis OB2, while another, nearer group with later type stars lies at a similar distance as Puppis OB1.

The region is dominated by a massive young star, HD 64315 (annotated in Commons, below and left of center), of spectral type O6. Two stellar clusters also exist in the area, Haffner 19 (H19, annotated) and Haffner 18 (H18, annotated). H19 is a compact cluster containing a Strömgren sphere which is ionized by a hot B0 V type star. H18 contains a very young star, FM3060a (annotated), that has just come into existence and still surrounded by its birth cocoon of gas. The age of H19 is estimated to be 2 Myr, while the age H18 is somewhat controversial, some considering it to be as young as only 1 Myr. The field contains other early-type stars such as HD 64568 (annotated, upper right) whose relationship with the clusters is unclear.

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