A Trillion Here, A Trillion There

HH-47 is a Herbig-Haro Object, a young star that is ejecting material at mind-bogglingly high speed (up to a million km/h) into its surroundings. The material glows as it impacts the surrounding gas, and the streamer from HH-47 is around five trillion km long. The star is about 1,400 light-years away.

Image Credit: NASA

A Herbig-Haro Object

HH 46:47This picture was assembled from combined observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and ESO’s Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. It reveals the throes of stellar birth in an object known as HH 46/47.

HH or Herbig-Haro objects form when particle jets shot out by newborn stars collide with surrounding matter, producing small, bright, nebulous regions. The dynamics within many HH objects are obscured from observation with visible light by the enveloping gas and dust, but the infrared and submillimeter light seen by Spitzer and ALMA, respectively, cuts through the cloud around HH 46/47. (Infrared light has longer wavelengths than what we see with our eyes, and submillimeter wavelengths are longer still.)

In this false-color image the shorter-wavelength light appears blue and longer-wavelength light, red. Blue shows gas energized by the outflowing jets. Green traces a combination of hydrogen gas molecules and dust that follows the boundary of the gas cloud surrounding the young star. The red areas are excited carbon monoxide gas.

Image Credit: NASA / ESO

HH 34

hh34HH 34 is a Herbig–Haro object containing a protostar near the Orion Nebula. Herbig–Haro objects are small patches of nebulosity associated with newly born stars. They’re formed when narrow jets of gas ejected by those stars at several hundred km/s collide with nearby clouds of gas and dust.

Image Credit: ESO