FromQuarkstoQuasars

Astronomy Picture of the Day: 11/12/13 – HH 46/47

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ALMA
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ALMA

 

This newly released image was put together using data collected from the Spitzer Space Telescope (an infrared observatory) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (a submillimeter wavelength observatory). It depicts a colorful outflow of material surrounding a budding baby star.

 

The Herbig-Haro (HH) object in question, known as HH 46/47, is well-studied, but never before have we seen the area in such terrific clarity. Thanks to the combined efforts of both telescopes, which can see through the clouds of gas and dust that blanket the star, are able to make out each of the many successive layers that make up the protostar’s environment; Like the jets of stellar material that formulate not one, but two bubbly lobes. The jets form when superheated gas is spat outward from the central star, inevitably bleeding into surrounding material. In the process, small – albeit bright – nebulous regions are generated.

 

Furthermore, the research undertaken by both observatories have revealed that the lobes of material are expanding away from the central star at exceptional speeds. This expansion may be the result of turbulence in the gaseous cloud that collapsed to form the star. It may even eventually lead to the formation of additional stars in the region.

 

HH 46/47 can be found about 1,400 light-years from Earth in the Vela (The Sails) constellation. Additional information can be seen here.

 

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