DR21: Star Forming Region in Constellation Cygnus
Cygnus Region The DR-21 Region is approximately 3.0 kilo-Parsecs (about 10000 light years) from Earth. DR-21 is in the Cynus region of the galatic plane at 80 degrees galatic latitude. (Therefore DR-21 is in the direction the solar system is moving as it rotates around the galactic center.)

The Cyngus region is in one of the spiral arms of our Galaxy and is a region of active star formation. DR-21 is one star forming region. Molecular chemistry is a very important part of the star formation process, due to radiative cooling by spinning and vibrational modes of molecules in the proto-stellar cloud. These molecules are heated by colisions and then radiate at radio wavelenghts. These molecular clouds are very bright at radio wavelengths, so that radio astronomy provides a unique opportunity for study of inter-stellar chemistry. The spectral features of the radio emission allows identification of the type, temperatures and densities of molecules in these clouds. Radio wavelength observations have detected formaldehyde (H2CO), ammonia (NH3), water (H2O), carbon monoxide (CO), and many other molecules in the DR-21 region.

Many Molecules have been detected in star forming regions. Learn more about the first Discoveries, made at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank. Some links to PDF versions of the first molecular line observations are given below:
formaldehyde Tom Wilson, J. Martin-Pintado, F. Gardner and C. Henkel's discovery of Formaldehyde (H2CO) in DR21
ammonia Tom Wilson and R. Mauersberger's observations of ammonia (NH3) and other molecules in DR21
The whole sky of stars (black and white) is shown at the right with the Galactic Plane A radio survey survey shown in color. The Galactic Center, Cygnus Region and Rosette Nebula are emphasized. Follow the link to select a region.

The sky is full of stars, but the locations of the births and deaths are hidden in clouds of gas and dust. The radio wavelength observations show the locations of star forming regions and supernova remnants.
Galactic Plane Survey

glangsto@nrao.edu Last edited 2001 February 26