The Becklin-Neugebauer Object
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The Becklin-Neugebauer Object

April 26, 2005
This photo is a composite image of the region around the Becklin-Neugebauer object (generally refered to as "BN" ). With its associated Kleinmann-Low nebula, it is located in the Orion star forming region at a distance of approx. 1500 light-years. It is the nearest high-mass star-forming complex.

The immediate vicinity of BN (the brightest star in the image) is highly dynamic with outflows and cloudlets glowing in the light of shock-excited molecular hydrogen. While many masers and outflows have been detected, the identification of their driving sources is still lacking.

Deep images in the infrared K and H bands, as well as in the light of molecular hydrogen emission were obtained with NAOS-CONICA at VLT YEPUN during the current tests. The new images facilitate the detection of fainter and smaller structures in the cloud than ever before. More details on the embedded star cluster are revealed as well.

These observations were only made possible by the infrared wavefront sensor of NAOS. The latter is a unique capability of NAOS and allows to do adaptive optics on highly embedded infrared sources, which are practically invisible at optical wavelengths.

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