Latest Nebulae Stories
Fantastic new images and clues about stars at different stages of their evolution, and interstellar material hosting black holes, are just a few of the latest results obtained by AKARI, the newest infrared sky-surveyor mission on the scene.
New clues about the origins of cosmic rays, mysterious high-energy particles that bombard the Earth, have been revealed using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Recent observations have uncovered evidence that helps to confirm the identification of the remains of one of the earliest stellar explosions recorded by humans.
Eight new complex, carbon-containing molecules have been found in two interstellar clouds by an international research team using the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope.
Astronomers announced Thursday what may be the first discovery of a helical magnetic field in interstellar space, coiled like a snake around a gas cloud in the constellation of Orion.
Like traffic on a freeway, plasma spewing from the poles of newborn stars moves in clumps that travel at different speeds. When fast-moving particles run into slower material on these cosmic freeways, the resulting "traffic jams" create massive shock waves that travel trillions of miles.
In an upcoming issue, the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics will publish the most complete picture of a "triggered" star-forming region. Induced (or "triggered") star formation is one of the processes that are supposed to lead to the formation of massive stars. Massive stars play a key role in the chemical and dynamical evolution of galaxies.
Hubble's iconic images include many shots of cosmic clouds of gas and dust called nebulae. For example, the famous "Pillars of Creation" mark the birthplace of new stars within the Eagle Nebula. Yet despite their beauty, visible-light images show only the nebulae surfaces. Baby stars may hide beneath, invisible even to Hubble's powerful gaze.
Newborn stars are difficult to photograph. They tend to hide in the nebulous stellar nurseries where they formed, enshrouded by thick layers of dust.
Two astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to discover a shell of superheated gas around a dying star in the Milky Way galaxy.
Supernova Remnant -- A supernova remnant (SNR) is made up of the materials left behind by the gigantic explosion of a star in a supernova. There are two possible routes to this end: either a massive star may cease to generate fusion energy in its core, and collapse inward under the force of its own gravity, or a white dwarf star may accumulate material from a companion star until it reaches a critical mass and undergoes a similar collapse. In either case, the resulting supernova...
Star Formation -- Star formation is the process by which gas in molecular clouds gets transformed into stars. In the current paradigm of star formation, cores of molecular clouds (regions of specially high density) became gravitationally unstable, and start to concentrate. Part of the gravitational energy lost in the process is radiated in the infrared, another part increases the temperature of the core. The accretion of material happen partially though a circumstellar disc. When...
Reflection Nebula -- In astronomy, reflection nebulae are clouds of dust which are simply reflecting the light of a nearby star or stars. The nearby star or stars are not hot enough to cause ionization in the gas of the nebula like in emission nebulae but are bright enough to give sufficient scattering to make the dust visible. The distiction between these two types of nebulae was done by Hubble in 1922. They are usually blue because the scattering is more efficient for blue light...
Planetary Nebula -- A planetary nebula is an astronomical object that usually appears nebulous and disk-like in low-resolution observations. Because of this appearance, similar to the appearance of planets in early observations, the "planetary" adjective was attached and has since been retained for historical consistency. According to current observations and models, planetary nebulae in fact have little to do with planets. Instead, as a small star (less than a few times the mass...
Nebula -- in astronomy, observed manifestation of a collection of highly rarefied gas and dust in interstellar space. Prior to the 1960s this term was also applied to bodies later discovered to be galaxies, e.g., the so-called Great Nebula in the constellation Andromeda. In 1864, William Huggins confirmed William Herschel's conclusion that nebulae are not swarms of stars by determining that the spectra of nebulae are made of bright lines characteristic of radiating gases. Diffuse...
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