Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




STELLAR CHEMISTRY
A Stellar Birthplace Shaped and Destroyed by Energetic Offspring
by Staff Writers
Paris (SPX) Jul 08, 2014


This richly detailed new view from the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile shows the star formation region Gum 15. This little-known object is located in the constellation of Vela (The Sails), some 3000 light-years from Earth. The glowing cloud is a stunning example of an HII region. It also has a similarity to a more famous HII region, the Trifid Nebula (Messier 20). Image courtesy ESO.

The little-known cloud of cosmic gas and dust called Gum 15 is the birthplace and home of hot young stars. Beautiful and deadly, these stars mould the appearance of the nebula from which they formed and, as they progress into adulthood, will eventually also destroy it.

This image was taken as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems programme [1] using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. It shows Gum 15, located in the constellation of Vela (The Sails), some 3000 light-years from Earth [2].

This glowing cloud is a striking example of an HII region [3]. Such clouds form some of the most spectacular astronomical objects we can see; for example the Eagle Nebula (which includes the feature nicknamed "The Pillars of Creation"), the great Orion Nebula, and this less famous example, Gum 15.

Hydrogen (H) is the most common element in the Universe, and can be found in virtually every environment investigated by astronomers. HII regions are different because they contain substantial amounts of ionised hydrogen - hydrogen atoms that have been stripped of their electrons through high energy interactions with ultraviolet photons - particles of light.

As the ionised hydrogen nuclei recapture electrons they release light at different characteristic wavelengths. It is one of these that gives nebulae such as Gum 15 their reddish glow - a glow which astronomers call hydrogen alpha (Ha).

In HII regions the ionising photons come from the young hot stars within the region, and Gum 15 is no exception. At the centre of this image you can see one of the culprits: the star HD 74804, the brightest member of a cluster of stars known as Collinder 197.

The clumpy, irregular appearance that enhances this nebula's beauty is not unusual for a HII region and is again a result of the stars within. HII regions have diverse shapes because the distribution of stars and gas inside them is so irregular.

Adding to Gum 15's interesting shape are the forked dark patch of obscuring dust visible in the centre of this image and some dim blue reflection structures crossing it. This dust feature makes the nebula resemble a larger and fainter version of the better known Trifid Nebula (Messier 20), although in this case the name Bifid Nebula might be more apposite.

An HII region like this one might give birth to thousands of stars over a period of several million years. Some of these stars cause it to glow and sculpt its shape, and it is these stars that will eventually destroy it.

Once the newly minted stars have passed through their infant stages, strong winds of particles will stream away from these large stars, sculpting and dispersing the gases around them, and when the most massive of these stars begin to die, Gum 15 will die with them. Some stars are so large that they will go out with a bang, exploding as supernovae and dispersing the regions last traces of HII, leaving behind just a cluster of infant stars.

Notes
[1] The ESO Cosmic Gems programme is an initiative to produce images of interesting, intriguing or visually attractive objects using ESO telescopes, for the purposes of education and public outreach. The programme makes use of telescope time that cannot be used for science observations. All data collected may also be suitable for scientific purposes, and are made available to astronomers through ESO's science archive.

[2] The name of this object comes from the Australian astronomer Colin Gum, who published a catalogue of HII regions in 1955.

[3] HII regions (pronounded "aitch-two") are large clouds of gas and dust that are host to bursts of star formation and homes to infant stars.

.


Related Links
ESO Cosmic Gems programme
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Spectral 'ruler' is first standardized way to measure stars
Cambridge, UK (SPX) Jul 08, 2014
Previously, as with the longitude problem 300 years earlier for fixing locations on Earth, there was no unified system of reference for calibrating the heavens. But now, when investigating the atmospheric structure and chemical make-up of stars, astronomers can use a new stellar scale as a 'ruler' - making it much easier for them to classify and compare data on star discoveries. In fact, t ... read more


STELLAR CHEMISTRY
NASA LRO's Moon As Art Collection Is Revealed

Solar photons drive water off the moon

55-year old dark side of the moon mystery solved

New evidence supporting moon formation via collision of 2 planets

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Rover Uses Arm to Study Several Rocks and Takes Panoramic Images

ADS complete heat shields for 2016 ExoMars mission

Martian salts must touch ice to make liquid water

First LDSD Test Flight a Success

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Sun Sends More 'Tsunami Waves' to Voyager 1

Privately funded solar spacecraft to launch in 2016

Space Launch System Core Stage Passes Critical Design Review

Taiwan's tourism revenue hits record high in 2013

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Chinese moon rover designer shooting for Mars

Yutu designer's bittersweet

Are China's Astronauts Moonbound

Chinese scientists prepare for lunar base life support system

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Orbital Targets July 11 For ISS Commercial Resupply Mission

Space junk damages ISS US segment

NASA Television Coverage Set for Orbital-2 Mission to Space Station

Spot the Space Station looking at you

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
RUAG Space wins major Ariane 5 payload fairing contract

Final ATV loaded with cargo after integration on Ariane 5

Russia Launches Rokot Carrier Rocket with Three Satellites

Eco-Friendly 'Angara' Rocket Installed On Plesetsk Launch Pad

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Newfound Frozen World Orbits in Binary Star System

Discovery expands search for Earth-like planets

Astronomers discover most Earth-like of all exoplanets

Mega-Earth in Draco Smashes Notions of Planetary Formation

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
ASC Signal Introduces Innovative Carbon-Fiber Antenna

Resolve Supplies Zoom Lenses for NASA Testing

With 'ribbons' of graphene, width matters

Even geckos can lose their grip




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.