Baby Stars, Fat Stars, & Hubble
- Stellar nursery in nearby galaxy teems with
activity<br><br><a href=http://cnn.com/TECH/space/9909/29/hubble.stars/index.html target=new>http://cnn.com/TECH/space/9909/29/hubble.stars/index.html</a><br> <br>Images taken in infrared and visible light by
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope recount a vivid story of
the turbulent birthing process of massive stars. <br>
<br>September 29, 1999<br>Web posted at: 2:17 p.m. EDT (1817
GMT)<br><br><br>(CNN) -- Features of stellar birth never seen before
are shown in Hubble space telescope images of a
nebula where stars are sprouting like gawky suburbs
around an urban hub. <br><br>Radiation and gases spewed
from massive stars in the core of the nebula in the
Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky
Way, are triggering the burst of star birth, as shown
in the infrared and visible-light images released
Wednesday. <br><br>The nascent stars, embedded in columns of
gas and dust are blowing away the tops of their
nurseries, like a volcano blasting material into the sky.
<br><br>And jets of material streaming from one developing
star are colliding with nearby dust and gas, causing
impressive glowing patterns in the region called the 30
Doradus Nebula -- 170,000 light years from Earth. A light
year is 6 trillion miles or the distance light travels
in a year. <br><br>"This region is larger and
contains more massive stars than any similar object in our
galaxy," said Nolan R. Walborn of the Space Telescope
Science Institute in Maryland. The STSI oversees the use
of NASA's Hubble telescope as it orbits Earth.
<br><br>The stellar action is happening relatively nearby,
providing astronomers with a "laboratory" for studying the
details of the birth and development of "hefty" stars and
multiple-star systems. <br><br>"Heavy" stars key to
process<br><br>A 2 million year-old cluster of massive stars,
called R136, unleashed the gas and energy that created
the star nurseries, Walborn said. <br><br>Its "heavy"
stars have temperatures 10 times that of the sun and
masses up to 100 times greater. They shed bubbles of
material at speeds of thousands of miles per second, which
collide with surrounding dense clouds of hydrogen.
<br><br>Some of those clouds collapse, igniting
second-generation stars, he said. Most of these new stars are less
than a million years old. <br><br>Astronomers think
there are thousands of fledgling stars in 30 Doradus, a
significant fraction of the original generation of stars,
packed into a 600-light-year-wide nebula.
<br><br>Resembling the towers of the Eagle Nebula, columns of dust
shown in the image are oriented toward the central star
cluster, pointing to its role in stellar birth.
<br><br>Radiation from some of the new stars has begun to erode
their natal dust columns, and their emergence from the
columns can be seen in the visible-light images.
<br><br>Others remain completely immersed in their stellar
incubators and can only be seen in infrared images. Many of
them never have been seen before, Walborn said.
<br><br>The wave of star birth will continue to migrate
farther out in the nebula, he said, until in a few
million years it will be a shell of glowing gas with its
most massive stars at its periphery. <br><br>The hub
itself will be dimmer and abandoned by the massive stars
to which it gave birth.
- The SEDS site has a short list of Messier
Marathon locations where people will congregate to count
the Messier Objects.<br><br>If you would like to join
a group and do it check out this
site:<br><br><a href=http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/messier/xtra/marathon/mm2002.html target=new>http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/messier/xtra/marathon/mm2002.html</a><br><br>Many will be happening this weekend.