Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Hubble mosaic of the Orion Nebula

20.03.2017

Hunting for rogue planets and runaway stars

In the search for rogue planets and failed stars astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have created a new mosaic image of the Orion Nebula. During their survey of the famous star formation region, they found what may be the missing piece of a cosmic puzzle; the third, long-lost member of a star system that had broken apart.


This composite image of the Kleinmann-Low Nebula, part of the Orion Nebula complex, is composed of several pointings of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in optical and near-infrared light. Infrared light allows to peer through the dust of the nebula and to see the stars therein. The revealed stars are shown with a bright red colour in the image.

Credit: NASA, ESA/Hubble

The Orion Nebula is the closest star formation region to Earth, only 1400 light-years away. It is a turbulent place -- stars are being born, planetary systems are forming and the radiation unleashed by young massive stars is carving cavities in the nebula and disrupting the growth of smaller, nearby stars.

Because of this ongoing turmoil, Hubble has observed the nebula many times to study the various intriguing processes going on there. This large composite image of the nebula's central region, combining visual and near-infrared data, is the latest addition to this collection.

Astronomers used these new infrared data to hunt for rogue planets -- free-floating in space without a parent star -- and brown dwarfs in the Orion Nebula. The infrared capabilities of Hubble also allow it to peer through the swirling clouds of dust and gas and make the stars hidden within clearly visible; the unveiled stars appear with bright red colours in the final image.

Among these, astronomers stumbled across a star moving at an unusually high speed -- about 200 000 kilometres per hour [1]. This star could be the missing piece of the puzzle of a star system that had been broken apart 540 years ago.

Astronomers already knew about two other runaway stars in the Orion Nebula which were most likely once part of a now-defunct multiple-star system. For years it was suspected that the original system contained more than just these two stars. Now, by virtue of accident and curiosity, Hubble may have found the missing third piece of this cosmic puzzle.

Whether the new star is indeed the missing -- and the last -- piece of the puzzle will require further observations. So will the answer to the question of why the original star system broke apart in the first place. While there are several theories -- interactions with other, nearby stellar groups, or two of the stars getting too close to each other -- none can be ruled out or confirmed yet.

And while the astronomers are looking for the answers to these questions, who knows what mystery they will find next?

###

Notes

[1] The relative speed of the star was calculated by comparing observations made in 1998 with the recent ones. The speed of the newly discovered star is almost 30 times the speed of most of the nebula's stellar inhabitants.

More information

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

Image credit: NASA, ESA

Links

Images of Hubble - http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/archive/category/spacecraft/

Hubblesite release - http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2017-11

Contacts

Mathias Jäger
ESA/Hubble, Public Information Officer
Garching, Germany
Cell: +49 176 62397500
Email: mjaeger@partner.eso.org

http://www.spacetelescope.org 

Mathias Jäger, ESA/Hubble, Public | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object
23.05.2017 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence
23.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>