<p>Very massive stars shine in jewel-like colors in a new picture of the nebula NGC 281. The image, released Wednesday, combines data from <a href="http://chandra.harvard.edu/index.html">NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory</a> and the Spitzer Space Telescope.</p><p>High-mass stars are often difficult to see, because they exist far away and tend to be obscured by the bulk of gas and dust in our galaxy. But NGC 281 sits above the galactic plane, giving astronomers an unhindered view of a star-filled nebula 9,200 light-years from Earth.</p>

Cosmic Gems

Very massive stars shine in jewel-like colors in a new picture of the nebula NGC 281. The image, released Wednesday, combines data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

High-mass stars are often difficult to see, because they exist far away and tend to be obscured by the bulk of gas and dust in our galaxy. But NGC 281 sits above the galactic plane, giving astronomers an unhindered view of a star-filled nebula 9,200 light-years from Earth.

Image courtesy S. Wolk, CXC/CfA/NASA

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