Hubble sees a turbulent stellar nursery

Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, B. Reipurth, B. Nisini

The life of newborn stars is stormy, as this image of the Herbig-Haro objects HH 1 and HH 2 from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows. Both objects are located in the Orion constellation and are about 1,250 light-years from Earth. HH 1 is the luminous cloud above the bright star at the top right of this image, and HH 2 is the cloud at the bottom left. While both Herbig-Haro objects are visible, the young star system responsible for their creation lurks out of sight, cloaked in the thick clouds of dust at the center of this image. However, an outflow of gas from one of these stars comes out of the central dark cloud and is visible as a bright jet. Astronomers once thought that the bright star between that jet and the HH 1 cloud was the source of these jets, but it is an unrelated double star that formed nearby.

Herbig-Haro objects are bright clusters found around some newborn stars. They form when jets of gas blasted outward from these young stars collide with surrounding gas and dust at incredibly high speeds. In 2002, Hubble observations revealed that parts of HH 1 are moving at more than 248 miles (400 kilometers) per second.

Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 captured this turbulent stellar nursery using 11 different filters in infrared, visible, and ultraviolet wavelengths. Each of these filters is sensitive to only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum and allows astronomers to identify interesting processes that emit light at specific wavelengths.

In the case of HH 1 and 2, two groups of astronomers requested Hubble observations for two different studies. The first delved into the structure and motion of the Herbig-Haro objects visible in this image, giving astronomers a better understanding of the physical processes that occur when outflows from young stars collide with surrounding gas and dust. . The second study investigated the outflows themselves to lay the groundwork for future observations with the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. Webb, with his ability to look beyond the dust clouds that envelop young stars, will revolutionize the study of the outflows of young stars.

Image: Hubble sees the outburst of a child star

Citation: Hubble Views Turbulent Stellar Nursery (Oct 21, 2022) Retrieved Oct 22, 2022 from

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