From AAS NOVA: “Featured Image: A Search for Stellar Bow Shock Nebulae”


American Astronomical Society

6 February 2017
Susanna Kohler

These dynamic infrared images reveal what are known as “bow shock nebulae” — nebulae that form at the interface between the interstellar medium and the stellar wind from a high-speed star zipping through the galaxy (the arrows show the direction of motion of the star). When the relative speed between the two is supersonic, an arc-shaped bow shock forms ahead of the star, like the six prototypical ones pictured here. A team of scientists led by Henry Kobulnicky (University of Wyoming) has recently searched through survey data from the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Wide Field Infrared Explorer (WISE) to build a catalog of more than 700 such bow-shock nebula candidates, the vast majority of which are new discoveries. To find out more about their sample, check out the paper below!

NASA/Spitzer Telescope
NASA/Spitzer Telescope

NASA/WISE Telescope
NASA/WISE Telescope


Henry A. Kobulnicky et al 2016 ApJS 227 18. doi:10.3847/0067-0049/227/2/18

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See the full article here .

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