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 Astronomers release most complete ultraviolet-light survey of nearby galaxies
18.05.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht A quantum entanglement between two physically separated ultra-cold atomic clouds
17.05.2018 | University of the Basque Country

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: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>