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Posts Tagged ‘Orion Nebula’

Orion’s Hidden Fiery Ribbon


Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

Clouds of gas and interstellar dust are the raw materials from which stars are made. But these tiny dust grains block our view of what lies within and behind the clouds — at least at visible wavelengths — making it difficult to observe the processes of star formation.

This is why astronomers need to use instruments that are able to see at other wavelengths of light. At submillimetre wavelengths, rather than blocking light, the dust grains shine due to their temperatures of a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. The APEX telescope with its submillimetre-wavelength camera LABOCA, located at an altitude of 5000 metres above sea level on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes, is the ideal tool for this kind of observation.

This spectacular new picture shows just a part of a bigger complex called the Orion Molecular Cloud, in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter). A rich melting pot of bright nebulae, hot young stars and cold dust clouds, this region is hundreds of light-years across and located about 1350 light-years from us. The submillimetre-wavelength glow arising from the cold dust clouds is seen in orange in this image and is overlaid on a view of the region taken in the more familiar visible light.

The dust clouds form beautiful filaments, sheets, and bubbles as a result of processes including gravitational collapse and the effects of stellar winds. These winds are streams of gas ejected from the atmospheres of stars, which are powerful enough to shape the surrounding clouds into the convoluted forms seen here.

Full Story and Images: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1321/

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Herschel And Hubble See The Horsehead In New Light

April 19, 2013 1 comment

Hubble’s view of the Horsehead Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA & Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

Hubble’s view of the Horsehead Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA & Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

New views of the Horsehead Nebula and its turbulent environment have been unveiled by ESA’s Herschel space observatory and the NASA/ESA Hubble space telescope.

The Horsehead Nebula lies in the constellation Orion, about 1300 light-years away, and is a popular target for amateur and professional astronomers alike. It sits just to the south of star Alnitak, the easternmost of Orion’s famous three-star belt, and is part of the vast Orion Molecular Cloud complex.

The new far-infrared Herschel view shows in spectacular detail the scene playing out around the Horsehead Nebula at the right-hand side of the image, where it seems to surf like a ‘white horse’ in the waves of turbulent star-forming clouds.

The new Hubble view, taken at near-infrared wavelengths with its Wide Field Camera 3 to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the launch of the observatory, zooms in on the Horsehead to reveal fine details of its structure.

Full Story, Images, Video and Links:

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Herschel/Herschel_and_Hubble_see_the_Horsehead_in_new_light
And: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1307/

Young Stars Flicker Amidst Clouds of Gas and Dust

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Image credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/IRAM

Image credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/IRAM

Astronomers have spotted young stars in the Orion nebula changing right before their eyes, thanks to the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The colorful specks — developing stars strung across the image — are rapidly heating up and cooling down, speaking to the turbulent, rough-and-tumble process of reaching full stellar adulthood.

The image can be viewed at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/herschel/multimedia/pia13959.html

The rainbow of colors represents different wavelengths of infrared light captured by both Spitzer and Herschel. Spitzer is designed to see shorter infrared wavelengths than Herschel. By combining their observations, astronomers get a more complete picture of star formation. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer mission for NASA, and also plays an important role in the European Space Agency-led Herschel mission.

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-052