Image: Hubble looks in on a nursery for unruly young stars

Feb 10, 2014
Credit: NASA & ESA.  Acknowledgements: Kevin Luhman (Pennsylvania State University), and Judy Schmidt

(Phys.org) —This striking new image, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, reveals a star in the process of forming within the Chameleon cloud. This young star is throwing off narrow streams of gas from its poles—creating this ethereal object known as HH 909A. These speedy outflows collide with the slower surrounding gas, lighting up the region.

When form, they gather material hungrily from the around them. A young star will continue to feed its huge appetite until it becomes massive enough to trigger nuclear fusion reactions in its core, which light the star up brightly.

Before this happens, new undergo a phase during which they violently throw bursts of material out into space. This material is ejected as narrow jets that streak away into space at breakneck speeds of hundreds of miles/kilometers per second, colliding with nearby gas and dust and lighting up the region. The resulting narrow, patchy regions of faintly glowing nebulosity are known as Herbig-Haro objects. They are very short-lived structures, and can be seen to visibly change and evolve over a matter of years (heic1113)—just the blink of an eye on astronomical timescales.

These structures are very common within star-forming regions like the Orion Nebula, or the Chameleon I —home to the subject of this image. The Chameleon cloud is located in the southern constellation of Chameleon, just over 500 light-years from Earth. Astronomers have found numerous Herbig-Haro objects embedded in this stellar nursery, most of them emanating from stars with masses similar to that of the sun. A few are thought to be tied to less massive objects such as brown dwarfs, which are "failed" stars that did not hit the critical mass to spark reactions in their centers.

Explore further: Hubble sees a stellar "sneezing fit"

Related Stories

Hubble sees a stellar "sneezing fit"

Dec 29, 2013

(Phys.org) —Look at the bright star in the middle of this image. It appears as if it just sneezed. This sight will only last for a few thousand years—a blink of an eye in the young star's life.

Hubble sees a glowing jet from a young star

Feb 26, 2013

(Phys.org)—This image shows an object known as HH 151, a bright jet of glowing material trailed by an intricate, orange-hued plume of gas and dust. It is located some 460 light-years away in the constellation ...

A geyser of hot gas flowing from a star

Jul 03, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a new image of Herbig-Haro 110, a geyser of hot gas flowing from a newborn star.

Embracing Orion

Aug 26, 2013

(Phys.org) —This new view of the Orion A star-formation cloud from ESA's Herschel space observatory shows the turbulent region of space that hugs the famous Orion Nebula.

Spitzer and ALMA reveal a star's bubbly birth

Nov 12, 2013

(Phys.org) —It's a bouncing baby . . . star! Combined observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the newly completed Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have revealed ...

Image: A storm of stars in the Trifid nebula

Jan 30, 2014

(Phys.org) —A storm of stars is brewing in the Trifid nebula, as seen in this view from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The stellar nursery, where baby stars are bursting into being, ...

Recommended for you

Image: Multicoloured view of supernova remnant

3 hours ago

Most celestial events unfold over thousands of years or more, making it impossible to follow their evolution on human timescales. Supernovas are notable exceptions, the powerful stellar explosions that make ...

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources in starburst galaxies

3 hours ago

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) are point sources in the sky that are so bright in X-rays that each emits more radiation than a million suns emit at all wavelengths. ULXs are rare. Most galaxies (including ...

When a bright light fades

3 hours ago

Astronomer Charles Telesco is primarily interested in the creation of planets and stars. So, when the University of Florida's giant telescope was pointed at a star undergoing a magnificent and explosive death, ...

Image: Horsehead nebula viewed in infrared

4 hours ago

Sometimes a horse of a different color hardly seems to be a horse at all, as, for example, in this newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The famous Horsehead nebula makes a ghostly appearance ...

The Milky Way's new neighbour

4 hours ago

The Milky Way, the galaxy we live in, is part of a cluster of more than 50 galaxies that make up the 'Local Group', a collection that includes the famous Andromeda galaxy and many other far smaller objects. ...

Image: Hubble sweeps a messy star factory

4 hours ago

This sprinkle of cosmic glitter is a blue compact dwarf galaxy known as Markarian 209. Galaxies of this type are blue-hued, compact in size, gas-rich, and low in heavy elements. They are often used by astronomers ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.