Hubble captures bubbles and baby stars (w/ Video)

Jun 22, 2010
This broad vista of young stars and gas clouds in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys. This region is named LHA 120-N 11, informally known as N11, and is one of the most active star formation regions in the nearby Universe. This picture is a mosaic of ACS data from five different positions and covers a region about six arcminutes across. Credit: NASA, ESA and Jesús Maíz Apellániz (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain)

A spectacular new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image — one of the largest ever released of a star-forming region — highlights N11, part of a complex network of gas clouds and star clusters within our neighbouring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. This region of energetic star formation is one of the most active in the nearby Universe.

The contains many bright bubbles of glowing gas. One of the largest and most spectacular has the name LHA 120-N 11, from its listing in a catalogue compiled by the American astronomer and astronaut Karl Henize in 1956, and is informally known as N11. Close up, the billowing pink clouds of glowing gas make N11 resemble a puffy swirl of fairground candy floss.

From further away, its distinctive overall shape led some observers to nickname it the Bean Nebula. The dramatic and colourful features visible in the nebula are the telltale signs of . N11 is a well-studied region that extends over 1000 light-years. It is the second largest star-forming region within the Large Magellanic Cloud and has produced some of the most massive stars known.

It is the process of star formation that gives N11 its distinctive look. Three successive generations of stars, each of which formed further away from the centre of the nebula than the last, have created shells of gas and dust. These shells were blown away from the newborn stars in the turmoil of their energetic birth and early life, creating the ring shapes so prominent in this image.

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This zoom sequence begins with a very wide-field view of the southern sky including both the Milky Way and the two Magellanic Clouds. We then close in on a bright region in the outer part of the Large Magellanic Cloud. This is the rich star formation region N11. As the zoom finishes the full majesty of this complex of gas, dust and young stars is revealed in a very detailed picture from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA, ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2, Akira Fujii and Eckhard Slawik. Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin

Beans are not the only terrestrial shapes to be found in this spectacular high resolution image from the /ESA . In the upper left is the red bloom of nebula LHA 120-N 11A. Its rose-like petals of gas and dust are illuminated from within, thanks to the radiation from the massive hot stars at its centre. N11A is relatively compact and dense and is the site of the most recent burst of star development in the region.

Other star clusters abound in N11, including NGC 1761 at the bottom of the image, which is a group of massive hot young stars busily pouring intense ultraviolet radiation out into space. Although it is much smaller than our own galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud is a very vigorous region of star formation. Studying these stellar nurseries helps astronomers understand a lot more about how stars are born and their ultimate development and lifespan.

Both the Large Magellanic Cloud and its small companion, the Small Magellanic Cloud, are easily seen with the unaided eye and have always been familiar to people living in the southern hemisphere. The credit for bringing these galaxies to the attention of Europeans is usually given to Portuguese explorer Fernando de Magellan and his crew, who viewed it on their 1519 sea voyage. However, the Persian astronomer Abd Al-Rahman Al Sufi and the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci recorded the Large Magellanic Cloud in 964 and 1503 respectively.

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yyz
5 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2010
Examining the enlarged image above, I was pleasantly surprised to see a smattering of distant galaxies below and to the lower left of the pink ionized cloud N11. While this nebula lies 180,000 ly from us in the Large Magellanic Cloud, these galaxies are many millions of light years more distant. Also, Bok globules and pillars are easy to spot within N11, all signs of current star formation here.

A 2002 Hubble closeup of the stellar cocoon N11A, "A rose blooming in space", is available here: http://www.spacet...210a.jpg

Simply amazing!
Au-Pu
not rated yet Jun 23, 2010
I was impressed with the effectiveness of the zoom image.
What was very irritating was the constantly appearing black square in the center with its rotating spokes and internal numbers.
Surely it can be eradicated in future images
jsa09
not rated yet Jun 23, 2010
@Au-pu took me a while to figure out what you meant. The problem you had has nothing to do with the zoom at all. The problem you mentioned is entirely related to the speed of the download of the video file.

Once you have watched it once you probably should look at it again and see it without all that browser information letting you know that your computer is awake and not broken.