Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hubble peers inside a celestial geode

12.08.2004


Real geodes are handball-sized, hollow rocks that start out as bubbles in volcanic or sedimentary rock. Only when these inconspicuous round rocks are split in half by a geologist, do we get a chance to appreciate the inside of the rock cavity that is lined with crystals. In the case of Hubble’s 35 light-year diameter ’celestial geode’ the transparency of its bubble-like cavity of interstellar gas and dust reveals the treasures of its interior.


In this unusual image, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures a rare view of the celestial equivalent of a geode - a gas cavity carved by the stellar wind and intense ultraviolet radiation from a young hot star.



The object, called N44F, is being inflated by a torrent of fast-moving particles (what astronomers call a "stellar wind") from an exceptionally hot star (the bright star just below the centre of the bubble) once buried inside a cold dense cloud. Compared with our Sun (which is losing mass through the so-called "solar wind"), the central star in N44F is ejecting more than a 100 million times more mass per second and the hurricane of particles moves much faster at 7 million km per hour (as opposed to less than 1.5 million km per hour for our Sun). Because the bright central star does not exist in empty space but is surrounded by an envelope of gas, the stellar wind collides with this gas, pushing it out, like a snow plough. This forms a bubble, whose striking structure is clearly visible in the crisp Hubble image.

The nebula N44F is one of a handful of known interstellar bubbles. Bubbles like these have been seen around evolved massive stars (so-called Wolf-Rayet stars), and also around clusters of stars (where they are called "super-bubbles"). But they have rarely been viewed around isolated stars, as is the case here.


On closer inspection N44F harbours additional surprises. The interior wall of its gaseous cavity is lined with several four to eight light-year high finger-like columns of cool dust and gas. (The structure of these "columns" is similar to the Eagle Nebula’s iconic "Pillars of Creation" photographed by Hubble a decade ago, and is seen in a few other nebulae as well). The fingers are created by a blistering ultraviolet radiation from the central star. Like wind socks caught in a gale, they point in the direction of the energy flow. These pillars look small in this image only because they are much farther away from us then the Eagle Nebula’s pillars.

N44F is located about 160,000 light-years in the neighbouring dwarf galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, in the direction of the southern constellation Dorado. N44F is part of the larger N44 complex, which contains a large super-bubble, blown out by the combined action of stellar winds and multiple supernova explosions. N44 itself is roughly 1,000 light-years across. Several compact star-forming regions, including N44F, are found along the rim of the central super-bubble.

This image was taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, using filters that isolate light emitted by sulphur (shown in blue, a 1,200-second exposure) and hydrogen gas (shown in red, a 1,000-second exposure).

Lars Lindberg Christensen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.eso.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays
18.08.2017 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>