Images by Date
Images by Category
Solar System
White Dwarfs
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Galaxy Clusters
Cosmology/Deep Field
Images by Interest
Space Scoop for Kids
Sky Map
Photo Blog
Top Rated Images
Image Handouts
Fits Files
Image Tutorials
Photo Album Tutorial
False Color
Cosmic Distance
Look-Back Time
Scale & Distance
Angular Measurement
Images & Processing
Image Use Policy
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
Rosette Nebula: The Heart of a Rose
Rosette Nebula
Rosette Nebula

  • The Rosette Nebula is a star-forming region about 5,000 light years from Earth.

  • X-rays from Chandra reveal about 160 stars in the cluster known as NGC 2237 (right side of the image).

  • Combining X-ray and optical data, astronomers determined that the central cluster formed first, followed by neighboring ones including NGC 2237.

This composite image shows the Rosette star formation region, located about 5,000 light years from Earth. Data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are colored red and outlined by a white line (roll your mouse over the image above). The X-rays reveal hundreds of young stars clustered in the center of the image and additional fainter clusters on either side. These clusters are labeled in the X-ray only image, where they are more obvious to the eye. Optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey and the Kitt Peak National Observatory (purple, orange, green and blue) show large areas of gas and dust, including giant pillars that remain behind after intense radiation from massive stars has eroded the more diffuse gas.

A recent Chandra study of the cluster on the right side of the image, named NGC 2237, provides the first probe of the low-mass stars in this satellite cluster. Previously only 36 young stars had been discovered in NGC 2237, but the Chandra work has increased this sample to about 160 stars. The presence of several X-ray emitting stars around the pillars and the detection of an outflow -- commonly associated with very young stars -- originating from a dark area of the optical image indicates that star formation is continuing in NGC 2237 (the outflow and some of the pillars are labeled in a close-up view). By combining these results with earlier studies, the scientists conclude that the central cluster formed first, followed by expansion of the nebula, which triggered the formation of the neighboring clusters, including NGC 2237.

Rosette Nebula Labeled

This work was led by Junfeng Wang of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The co-authors were Eric Feigelson, Leisa Townsley, Pat Broos and Gordon Garmire from Penn State University, Carlos Roman-Zuniga from the German-Spanish Astronomical Center in Spain, and Elizabeth Lada from the University of Florida.

Fast Facts for Rosette Nebula:
Credit  X-ray (NASA/CXC/SAO/J. Wang et al), Optical (DSS & NOAO/AURA/NSF/KPNO 0.9-m/T. Rector et al)
Release Date  September 08, 2010
Scale  Image is 1 degree across (about 87 light years).
Category  Normal Stars & Star Clusters
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 06h 31m 52.00s | Dec +04° 55' 57.00"
Constellation  Monoceros
Observation Date  4 pointings on 5-6 Jan 2001, 1 Jan 2004, 9 Feb 2007
Observation Time  50 hours (2 days 2 hours)
Obs. ID  1874-1877, 3750, 8454
Instrument  ACIS
References Wang et al, 2010 ApJ 716:474-489
Color Code  Optical (Purple, Orange, Green, Blue); X-ray (Red)
Distance Estimate  About 5,000 light years
distance arrow
Visitor Comments (18)

Always amazed at the shots you transmit to us. I make sure I add each one to my library.

Posted by Richard Sommery-Gade on Wednesday, 12.21.16 @ 05:04am

Looks like a shark with its mouth open.

Posted by Jimmy Rustled on Wednesday, 12.21.16 @ 02:17am

This is so beautiful...

Posted by Jo on Friday, 04.18.14 @ 14:16pm

Really love this photo.

Posted by Ho yeh-chun on Thursday, 10.17.13 @ 23:41pm

Hi, I am definitely delighted to discover this great job.

Posted by Aswad Kannau on Monday, 05.23.11 @ 09:30am

I am trying to reproduce this in an art work I am now undertaking, it is not possible to recreate something this spectacular, I will try.
Thank you for this image.

Posted by Frances on Thursday, 01.6.11 @ 13:55pm

How are you? Just wanted to show my appreciation for your time and hard work.

Posted by Jamie Iomo on Tuesday, 12.7.10 @ 14:38pm

Dear Marvin,
Besides this one, similar studies have been done on other nebulas too, like RCW 108 and W3. You can find more about these two, by clicking on their links under "Related Images".

Posted by CXC on Friday, 11.5.10 @ 13:46pm

This is a very beautiful nebula and I was wondering if similar studies have been done on other nebula besides this one.

What a universe we live in

Marvin L. S.

Posted by Marvin L . S. on Friday, 11.5.10 @ 02:18am

All of these pictures make me realize how insignificant some of the things we deal with on Earth actually are. So beautiful, thank you.

Posted by Jay on Friday, 09.24.10 @ 01:08am

This is great stuff. Thank you.

Posted by Kenji on Wednesday, 09.15.10 @ 22:01pm

We do have that option on each image. If you click on the "Share This" icon in the upper right, the first clickable item you'll see in the pop up box is "Email".
We hope that helps - enjoy!

Posted by CXC on Tuesday, 09.14.10 @ 13:00pm

Hi Beverly
A light year is approximately 6 trillion miles. So multiply the 5000 light years by 6 trillion miles.
Marvin L. S.

Posted by Marvin L. S. on Saturday, 09.11.10 @ 23:34pm

I wish you could make the facility to e-mail each one of these website images to friends.

Posted by SARPESHKAR on Saturday, 09.11.10 @ 07:52am


Posted by tyler on Saturday, 09.11.10 @ 02:41am

I have one question, one comment.
How do I calculate 5,000 light years into actual distance? did you notice in the black red image that the shape is nearly square?
You have got to have the best jobs on earth, thank you. Beverly

Posted by Beverly on Friday, 09.10.10 @ 09:34am


Posted by Tavo on Thursday, 09.9.10 @ 12:43pm

Amazing, really impressive, not to think that there is more life in the universe. I think this is going faster than I thought.

From Spain a hug congratulations for this contribution to the humanity.

Posted by chuso55 on Thursday, 09.9.10 @ 01:38am

Rate This Image

Rating: 3.8/5
(808 votes cast)
Download & Share


1024x768 - 1.1 MB
1280x1024 - 1.8 MB
1680x1050 - 2.2 MB
More Information
More Images
Chandra X-ray Image
of Rosette Nebula
Jpg, Tif

More Images
Animation & Video
Tour of Rosette Nebula

More Animations
More Releases
Rosette Nebula
Rosette Nebula
(06 Sep 01)

Related Images
Tarantula Nebula
Tarantula Nebula
(11 Dec 08)

RCW 108
RCW 108
(06 Oct 08)

W3 Main
W3 Main
(18 Dec 06)

(14 Aug 03)

Related Information
Related Podcast
Top Rated Images
Chandra Releases 3D Instagram Experiences

Timelapses: Crab Nebula and Cassiopeia A

Brightest Cluster Galaxies