Westerhout 5

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(Redirected from Soul Nebula)
Westerhout 5
Emission nebula
H II region
Detail of Westerhout 5
Observation data: J2000.0 epoch
Right ascension02h 55m 24s
Declination+60° 24′ 36″
Distance7,500 ly
Apparent dimensions (V)150' × 75'
Physical characteristics
Absolute magnitude (V)6.5
DesignationsSh2-199, LBN 667 - Cluster is IC 1848
See also: Lists of nebulae

Westerhout 5 (Sharpless 2-199, LBN 667, Soul Nebula) is an emission nebula located in Cassiopeia. Several small open clusters are embedded in the nebula: CR 34, 632, and 634[citation needed] (in the head) and IC 1848 (in the body). The object is more commonly called by the cluster designation IC 1848.

Small emission nebula IC 1871 is present just left of the top of the head, and small emission nebulae 670 and 669 are just below the lower back area.

The galaxies Maffei 1 and Maffei 2 are both nearby the nebula, although light extinction from the Milky Way makes them very hard to see. Once thought to be part of the Local Group, they are now known to belong to their own group- the IC 342/Maffei Group.

This complex is the eastern neighbor of IC1805 (Heart Nebula) and the two are often mentioned together as the "Heart and Soul".

Star formation[edit]

The W5 stellar blast furnace.
Heart and Soul. The Soul Nebula (Westerhout 5 or Sharpless 2-199), that is seen on the photo as colorful patch above, is an emission nebula located 7500 light years away from Earth in constellation Cassiopeia.The Heart Nebula (IC 1805 or Sharpless 2-190) is also an emission nebula located in constellation Cassiopeia. It displays glowing ionized hydrogen gas and darker dust lanes.

W5, a radio source within the nebula, spans an area of sky equivalent to four full moons and is about 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. Like other massive star-forming regions, such as Orion and Carina, W5 contains large cavities that were carved out by radiation and winds from the region's most massive stars. According to the theory of triggered star formation, the carving out of these cavities pushes gas together, causing it to ignite into successive generations of new stars. The image in the gallery above contains some of the best evidence yet for the triggered star formation theory. Scientists analyzing the photo have been able to show that the ages of the stars become progressively and systematically younger with distance from the center of the cavities.[1]


  1. ^ Koenig, Xavier P. & Lori E. Allen (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) (August 22, 2008). "Spitzer Reveals Stellar 'Family Tree'". NASA/JPL-Caltech. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009.