Another Stellar Nursery

This false color image from infrared data taken by the Herschel Space Observatory shows a stellar nursery about 5,000 light-years away. These dust clouds are associated with the Rosette Nebula in the constellation Monoceros. The bright smudges are cocoons of dust surrounding massive embryonic stars, which will grow up to 10 times the mass of our Sun. The small spots near the center of the image are the embryos of less massive stars.

Image Credit: ESA

Black Holes and Star Formation

The supermassive black holes lurking at the centers of galaxies draw from the disks of gas and dust that orbit them. Massive jets of matter result that affect star formation locally and farther afield. This animation shows a model of that interaction. Watch as the jets and winds from a supermassive black hole affect its host galaxy and the space hundreds of thousands of light-years away over millions of years.

Video Credit: STScI

Partly Cloudy, For Now

The Dark Cloud Lupus 4Lupus 4, a spider-shaped blob of gas and dust, blots out background stars like a dark cloud on a moonless night. Although dark and gloomy for now, dense pockets of material within such clouds are where new stars form and where they will later burst into radiant life. Lupus 4 is about 400 light-years away, straddling the constellations of Lupus (The Wolf) and Norma (The Carpenter’s Square).

Image Credit: ESO

A New Star Factory

Star cluster NGC 6193 and nebula NGC 6188Star cluster NGC 6193 is in the center of this image. It contains thirty or so bright stars and forms the heart of the Ara OB1 association (so named because it is in the southern constellation of Ara, the Altar). The two brightest stars are very hot giants. Together, they provide the main source of illumination for the nearby emission nebula, the Rim Nebula, or NGC 6188, visible to the right of the cluster.

The ultraviolet radiation and intense stellar wind from the stars of NGC 6193 seem to be driving the next generation of star formation in the surrounding clouds of gas and dust. As the gas and duct collapse, it forms new stars.

Image Credit: ESO

W40

This red butterfly in space is a nebula, a giant cloud of gas and dust officially cataloged as W40. The “wings” of the butterfly are giant bubbles of gas being blown out by massive stars. The formation of those stars resulted in the destruction of the very cloud that helped create them. Stars form inside giant clouds of gas and dust as the force of gravity pulls material together into dense clumps. When a clump of matter reaches a critical density a star is born. Radiation and winds coming from the massive stars in W40 have blow  cosmic bubbles dispersing the gas and dust, breaking up smaller clumps of matter, and reducing or halting new star formation.

Image Credit: NASA

LEGUS

These six images are part of the Hubble Space Telescope’s Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), the sharpest, most comprehensive ultraviolet-light survey of star-forming galaxies in the nearby universe. The survey data provide detailed information on young, massive stars and star clusters and how their environment affects their development. The six imaged galaxies include two dwarf galaxies (UGC 5340 and UGCA 281) and four large spiral galaxies (NGC 3368, NGC 3627, NGC 6744, and NGC 4258). The images are a blend of ultraviolet light and visible light from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys.
Image Credits: NASA / ESA / LEGUS

Stellar Explosions in Orion

Stellar explosions are usually associated with supernovae, the spectacular deaths of stars. New ALMA observations of the Orion Nebula provide insights into explosions at the other end of the stellar life cycle, star birth. This image shows the remains of a 500-year-old explosion from the birth of a group of massive stars; star formation can be a violent and explosive process too.

The colors in the ALMA data represent the relative Doppler shifting of the millimetre-wavelength light emitted by carbon monoxide gas. Blue data represents gas approaching at the highest speeds; the red data is from gas moving toward us more slowly.

The millimetre wave data is superimposed over optical and near-infrared images from the Gemini South and the ESO Very Large Telescope. The famous Trapezium Cluster of hot young stars appears towards the bottom of this image. The ALMA data only covers the central portion of the picture.

Image Credit: ESO