Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Space Science

Hubble Captures the Violent Birth of a Star 102

The Bad Astronomer writes "In what is one of the most staggeringly beautiful Hubble pictures ever taken, a newly-born massive star is blasting four separate jets of material into its surrounding cocoon, carving out cavities in the material over two light years long. But only three of the jets appear to have matter still inside them, and the central star is off-center. This may be a gorgeous picture, but the science behind it is equally as compelling."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hubble Captures the Violent Birth of a Star

Comments Filter:
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {kapimi}> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @07:08PM (#38390740) Homepage Journal

    We know from stellar nurseries we've seen elsewhere that the current model is largely correct. We know from spectrometry that the gas cloud is abundant in light elements and poor in elements that form in later-generation stars, and know also from spectrometry that the star itself is also very rich in light elements. Spectrometry, the the level of light given off, plus the estimated distance also tells us where in the sequence the star is, because the sequence is now very well known. We can further verify a few details -- the solar winds push gas away from the sun, but there are no solar winds before there's a sun to emit them. By measuring output and the degree of push, you can determine how long the gas cloud has been blasted at by the star. If this matches expectation, all's well. If the gas cloud shows evidence of more displacement than can be accounted for, there'd be problems. So far, all looks good.

    So although the exact details of stellar formation do shift from time to time, major changes aren't likely. Minor ones, on the other hand, are commonplace. For example, some stellar nurseries close to the galactic centre are being hammered by solar winds from supermassive stars in the region. Current models cannot account entirely for how the stars were able to condense at all under such conditions. (You wouldn't expect fog patches to form in gale force 9 winds for the same reason. If you see fog in such conditions, then there's some extremely freaky condition to explain it - a total lack of air currents or turbulence is possible if you've exactly the right environment, and therefore something similar must exist in these freak star formations. It's an addition to, though, rather than a replacement of existing models.)

  • by Rashdot ( 845549 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @07:55PM (#38391288)

    Especially the 3D video:

    ahref=http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2011/38/video/rel=url2html-24467 [slashdot.org]http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2011/38/video/>

  • That's more or less my understanding. The hubble sees far more of the EM spectrum than we can with our own eyes... and so they take the invisible frequencies and assign them to colors in the visible spectrum to produce a visually pleasing image, whereas if you were to actually see it with your own eyes, instead of the vibrant colors that you saw in the photo, it would probably look very dull and grey.
  • Re:yuck (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:40PM (#38393584)

    that's not lens flare, that is a common artefact in Cassegrain cameras because the secondary mirror is usually held in place by wires, which introduce diffraction patterns in the image. I'm still disappointed that they didn't use a glass plate* to hold the secondary but there again that would kill a lot of bandwidth for detection, so I can understand the decision to use wire.

    *I have some camera lenses which are basically small Schmidt reflectors; they have secondaries held in place by corrective lens optics which reduce common mirror artefacts such as astigmatism, blooming, etc. I would use these as portable scopes but I don't have a full-frame DSLR body to hand... any donations greatly appreciated ;) and if anyone has an Olympus OM digital back with at least 16MP true resolution they'd like to just, like, give away, I'll have your babies!

  • by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:15AM (#38394144)

    There is a great video on the Hubble site [hubblesite.org] that you can view that goes into exactly what goes into a hubble picture and explains the whole concept of colors and the like in it.

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.