Latest Orion Nebula Stories

2010-05-03 08:40:00

Using a CSIRO radio telescope, an international team of researchers has caught an enormous cloud of cosmic gas and dust in the process of collapsing in on itself "“ a discovery which could help solve one of astronomy's enduring conundrums: "ËœHow do massive stars form?' Dr Peter Barnes from the University of Florida says astronomers have a good grasp of how stars such as our Sun form from clouds of gas and dust, but for heavier stars "“ ten times the mass of the Sun or...

2010-04-26 10:11:06

New images from ESA's Planck space observatory reveal the forces driving star formation and give astronomers a way to understand the complex physics that shape the dust and gas in our Galaxy. Star formation takes place hidden behind veils of dust but that doesn't mean we can't see through them. Where optical telescopes see only black space, Planck's microwave eyes reveal myriad glowing structures of dust and gas. Now, Planck has used this ability to probe two relatively nearby...

2010-04-21 07:10:00

The Cat's Paw Nebula, NGC 6334, is a huge stellar nursery, the birthplace of hundreds of massive stars. In a magnificent new ESO image taken with the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, the glowing gas and dust clouds obscuring the view are penetrated by infrared light and some of the Cat's hidden young stars are revealed. Towards the heart of the Milky Way, 5500 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius (the...

2010-04-02 07:45:00

Astronomers have their eyes on a hot group of young stars, watching their every move like the paparazzi. A new infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the bustling star-making colony of the Orion nebula, situated in the hunter's sword of the famous constellation. Like Hollywood starlets, the cosmic orbs don't always shine their brightest, but vary over time. Spitzer is watching the stellar show, helping scientists learn more about why the stars change, and to what degree...

2010-03-04 09:28:51

ESA's Herschel Space Observatory has revealed the chemical fingerprints of potential life-enabling organic molecules in the Orion Nebula, a nearby stellar nursery in our Milky Way galaxy. This detailed spectrum, obtained with the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared (HIFI) - one of Herschel's three innovative instruments - demonstrates the gold mine of information that Herschel-HIFI will provide on how organic molecules form in space. The spectrum, one of the first to be obtained with...

2010-03-03 07:15:00

An Island of Stars in the Making on the Outskirts of Orion The delicate nebula NGC 1788, located in a dark and often neglected corner of the Orion constellation, is revealed in a new and finely nuanced image that ESO is releasing today. Although this ghostly cloud is rather isolated from Orion's bright stars, the latter's powerful winds and light have had a strong impact on the nebula, forging its shape and making it home to a multitude of infant suns. Stargazers all over the world are...

2010-02-10 08:05:00

The Orion Nebula reveals many of its hidden secrets in a dramatic image taken by ESO's new VISTA survey telescope. The telescope's huge field of view can show the full splendor of the whole nebula and VISTA's infrared vision also allows it to peer deeply into dusty regions that are normally hidden and expose the curious behavior of the very active young stars buried there. VISTA "” the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy "” is the latest addition to ESO's Paranal...

2010-01-20 09:20:00

ESO has just released a stunning new image of the vast cloud known as the Cat's Paw Nebula or NGC 6334. This complex region of gas and dust, where numerous massive stars are born, lies near the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, and is heavily obscured by intervening dust clouds. Few objects in the sky have been as well named as the Cat's Paw Nebula, a glowing gas cloud resembling the gigantic pawprint of a celestial cat out on an errand across the Universe. British astronomer John Herschel first...

2010-01-19 10:20:00

ESA's Herschel observatory is back to full operation following the reactivation of its HiFi instrument. HiFi, having been offline for 160 days while engineers investigated an unexpected problem in the electronic system, is now perfectly placed to resume its study of forming stars and planets. HiFi, the Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared, was built specifically to observe water in a variety of celestial objects. Its first observation, on 22 June 2009, showed that it was performing...

2009-12-14 10:10:00

A collection of 30 never-before-released images of embryonic planetary systems in the Orion Nebula are the highlight of the longest single Hubble Space Telescope project ever dedicated to the topic of star and planet formation. Also known as proplyds, or protoplanetary discs, these modest blobs surrounding baby stars are shedding light on the mechanism behind planet formation. Only the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, with its high resolution and sensitivity, can take such detailed pictures...

Latest Orion Nebula Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:42

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...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Saturn Nebula -- The layers of the Saturn Nebula give a complex picture of how this planetary nebula was created. The above picture, taken in April 1996 and released last week, allows a better understanding of the mysterious process that transformed a low-mass star into a white dwarf star. A computer model indicates that the central star of NGC 7009 first expelled the green gas that now appears barrel shaped. This green gas now confines stellar winds flowing from the central star,...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Owl Nebula -- Dicovered by Pierre Mchain in 1781. The Owl Nebula M97 is one of the fainter objects in Messier's catalog, discovered by Pierre Mchain on February 16, 1781. In his description of this object, Charles Messier also mentions two other nebulous objects that he (and Mchain) have seen at about the same time, but which he had not added in his printed catalog version of 1781 (in the Connaissance des Temps for 1784). As the description is obvious and he added positions by...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Orion Nebula -- Discovered 1610 by Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc. Located at a distance of about 1,600 (or perhaps 1,500) light years, the Orion Nebula is the brightest diffuse nebula in the sky, visible to the naked eye, and rewarding in telescopes of every size, from the smallest glasses to the greatest Earth-bound observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope. It is the main part of a much larger cloud of gas and dust which extends over 10 degrees well over half the constellation...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Hubble's Variable Nebula -- Hubble's variable nebula is named (like the Hubble telescope itself) after the American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble, who carried out some of the early studies of this object. It is a fan-shaped cloud of gas and dust which is illuminated by R Monocerotis (R Mon), the bright star at the bottom end of the nebula. Dense condensations of dust near the star cast shadows out into the nebula, and as they move the illumination changes, giving rise to the variations first...

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Word of the Day
  • A 'bachelor seal'; a young male seal which is prevented from mating by its herd's older males (mated bulls defending their territory).
This comes from the Russian word for 'bachelors.'