LL Orionis

This photograph is part of a large mosaic view of the complex stellar nursery in the Orion Nebula. The young variable star LL Orionis produces a stellar wind more energetic than the wind from our own middle-aged Sun. As its fast stellar wind smacks into slow moving gas, a shock front is formed, just like the bow wave of a boat moving through water or a plane traveling at supersonic speed. The small, arcing, graceful structure just above and left of center is LL Ori’s cosmic bow shock. It’s about half a light-year across.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

NGC 3201

NGC 3201 is an oddball among the 150-or-so globular star clusters in the Milky Way. It is moving very rapidly through the galaxy, and its motion is retrograde, that is, it’s orbiting around the galactic core in the opposite direction of most of the stars in the galaxy. That’s led to speculation that it may have come from outside and have been captured.

Also, it contains a black hole which was revealed by the strange movements of a star being quickly flung around the massive, invisible singularity.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA

A Dwarf Tadpole Galaxy

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows a firestorm of star birth is lighting up one end of the dwarf galaxy Kiso 5639. Kiso 5639 is really shaped like a pancake but, from our point of view, it seems to have brilliant blazing head and a long, starry tail. Its appearance earns it a place in the “tadpole” class of galaxies.

The bright pink head is glowing of hydrogen lit by radiation from new stars grouped into large clusters that less than a million years old.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA