Magnetic ‘Rivers’ Feed Young Stars

This view of a starry sky is bathed in red cloud-like structures. There is a bright grouping of stars just above and to the left of center in the image. These stars are bright white with large diffraction spikes, long lines like an asterisk over each star. The background changes to an electric green behind the concentration of stars. Lines in the image show where magnetic fields run. They run left to right over the main grouping of stars, but gradually change to be tilted from bottom left up to the right just below the grouping of stars.
August 20, 2020
CreditNASA/SOFIA/T. Pillai/J. Kauffman/L. Proudfit; NASA/JPL-Caltech/L. Allen
Historical DateAugust 20, 2020
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This image shows narrow, spindle-like structures, called filaments, that act like rivers channeling material into the Serpens South star cluster, a group of more than 60 young stars that is forming in a dense cloud of gas and dust nearly 1,400 lightyears away. NASA’s telescope on an airplane, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, discovered magnetic fields in the region can further fuel star formation.