Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Zooming In on the Birth of a Star

Young Stars are bursting with energy. During their early years, many stars will shoot streaming jets of plasma from both of its poles, and this plasma will collide with surrounding gas, creating a spectacular light show for telescopes back on Earth.

One such telescope, the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-Millimeter Array (ALMA) in the high Atacama desert of northern Chile, recently captured one such star birth in unprecedented detail. Scientists working with soon-to-be-published data from the telescope released several beautiful images of this young star in action.

The excited gases surrounding the jets emanating from young stars are called Herbig-Haro Objects, and the image below shows one such striking example.

Herbig-Haro Object 46/47, including its bipolar flow of ejected material. Measurements from ALMA (orange and green in the lower right) are combined with visible wavelength measurements from the ESO's New Technology Telescope.
Image Credit: ESO/ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/H. Arce. Acknowledgements: Bo Reipurth
ALMA's press office also included an awesome video that slowly zooms in on the object from a wide view of the Milky Way Galaxy. Check it out below.

Video Credit: ESO/ALMA

For more information and images, check out the press release from ALMA.

You can also read the latest research article on this Herbig-Haro Object on the arxiv.

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