From Manu: “Messier 42 and Messier 43, the Orion Nebula”

Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

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Hubble panoramic view of Orion Nebula reveals thousands of stars.

Messier 42 and Messier 43

NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

In one of the most detailed astronomical images ever produced, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope NASA / ESA is offering an unprecedented look at the Orion Nebula.

This turbulent star formation region is one of the most fantastic and photogenic celestial objects of astronomy.

The sharp image reveals a tapestry of star formation, from the dense pillars of gas and dust that may be the homes of stars emerging to hot stars, young and massive stars that have emerged from their cocoons of gas and dust and are shaping the nebula with their powerful ultraviolet light.

The new picture reveals large-scale structures never seen before, according to C. Robert O’Dell of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, United States. “Only with the Hubble Space Telescope can begin to understand them,” O’Dell said.

In a mosaic containing a billion pixels, the Advanced Camera of Hubble images (ACS) uncovered 3,000 stars of various sizes. Some of them have never been seen in visible light. Some are merely 1/100 the brightness of stars seen previously in the nebula.

Among the stars found in Hubble are possible young brown dwarfs, the first time these objects have been seen in the Orion Nebula in visible light. Brown dwarfs are so -called “failed stars”. These cool objects are too small to be ordinary stars because they can not sustain nuclear fusion in their cores as does our sun.

The Hubble Space Telescope also saw for the first time a small population of possible binary brown dwarfs, two brown dwarfs orbiting each other. Comparing the characteristics of newborn stars and brown dwarfs in their natal environment provides unique information about how they form.

“The wealth of information on this survey Hubble, including seeing stars of all sizes in one dense place, provides an extraordinary opportunity to study star formation,” said Massimo Robberto of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Institute Space Telescope science Baltimore, USA, and leader of the observations. “Our goal is to calculate the masses and ages for these young stars so that we can map their history and get a general census of the star formation in that region, we can sort the stars by mass and age and look for trends.”

Robberto present its results on January 11 at the 207th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington DC, USA

The Orion Nebula is a perfect place to study how stars are born because it is 1,500, a relatively short distance within our galaxy 100,000 light years light years distant laboratory. Astronomers have a clear view into this crowded stellar maternity ward because massive stars in the center of the nebula have blown most of the dust and gas in which they formed, carving a cavity in the dark cloud.

“In this bowl of stars we see the entire star formation history of Orion printed into the features of the nebula: arcs, blobs, pillars, and rings of dust that resemble cigar smoke,” said Robberto. “Each one tells a story of stellar winds from young stars that impact the stellar environment and the material ejected from other estrellas.Esto is a typical training environment estrellas.Nuestro Sun was probably born 4,500 million years ago in a cloud like this. ”

This extensive study took 105 Hubble orbits to complete (each orbit takes 96 minutes). All imaging instruments aboard the telescope, the ACS, the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, and near infrared camera and multi-object spectrometer, were used simultaneously to study the nebula. The ACS mosaic covers approximately the apparent angular size of the full moon.


NASA/Hubble WFPC2. No longer in service.

More comments on the Orion Nebula.

The magnificent superior image offers a peek inside a cavern of dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming. The image, taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard the Hubble Space Telescope , NASA / ESA represents the sharpest view ever seen of this region, called the Orion Nebula . More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image. Some of them have never been seen in visible light. These stars reside in a spooky landscape of dust and gas plateaus, mountains and valleys reminiscent of the Grand Canyon.

The Orion Nebula is a picture book of star formation, from the massive, young stars that are shaping the nebula to the pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars is. The bright central region is home to the four strongest stars of the nebula. The stars are called Trapezium because they are arranged in a trapezoidal pattern. Triggered by ultraviolet light these stars is carving a cavity in the nebula and disrupting the growth of hundreds of smaller stars. Located near the Trapezium stars, the stars are still young enough to have discs of material around them . These discs are called protoplanetary disks and are too small to be clearly seen in this picture. The discs are the building blocks of solar systems.

The bright glow on the top left is Messier 43 , a small region being shaped by the ultraviolet light of a young, massive star. Astronomers call the region a miniature Orion Nebula because only one star is sculpting the landscape. The Orion Nebula has four stars. Next to Messier 43 are dense, dark pillars of dust and gas pointing Trapeze. These pillars resist the erosion of the Trapezium intense ultraviolet light. The bright region on the right reveals arcs and bubbles formed when stellar winds – streams of charged particles ejected from the Trapezium stars – collide with material.

The faint red stars near the bottom are numerous brown dwarfs that Hubble spied for the first time in the nebula in visible light. Sometimes called “failed stars,” brown dwarfs are cold objects that are too small to be ordinary stars because they can not sustain nuclear fusion in their cores as does our sun. The column dark red, below, left , shows an illuminated edge of the cavity wall.

The Orion Nebula is 1,500 light years away, the star – forming region closest to Earth. Astronomers used 520 Hubble images, taken in five colors, to make this image. They also added land pictures to fill the nebula. The ACS mosaic covers approximately the apparent angular size of the full moon.

Orion observations were taken between 2004 and 2005.


The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

Photo credit :
NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (Institute of Space / ESA Telescope Science) and Orion Hubble Space Telescope Treasury Project Team

Published in Hubble on January 11, 2006.

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