Hubble has captured a stunning image of a star that’s still being born

Oct 20, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Hubble has captured a stunning image of a star that’s still being born

Oct 20, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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7,500 light-years away (or approximately 44,090,000,000,000,000 miles) from our tiny rock floating through space is the Soul Nebula (also known as Westerhout 5) in the constellation of Cassiopeia. And in one tiny section of that nebula is J025157.5+600606, a dense gaseous formation in which planets are born.

They’re called Free-floating Evaporating Gaseous Globules (FrEGGs – no, not these), which were only discovered a few years ago. This particular one occupies an extremely small part of the Soul Nebula and Hubble just shot a photo of it that looks just amazing.

You can see here just how small a section of the Soul Nebula J025157.5+600606 occupies (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA)

According to Science Alert, when a very massive and hot star starts to shine, the intense ultraviolet radiation they emit ionises their “birth cloud”. This creates a large hot bubble of ionised gas called a Strömgren sphere. FrEGGs are dense clumps of cooler gas clustered inside the sphere.

J025157.5+600606 (ESA/Hubble & NASA, R.Sahai)

You can see the boundary between the FrEGG and the sphere in the image that Hubble shot as the glowing purple region. This is caused by the heat from a hot nearby star evaporating the outer layer of gas. This loss means we can take a peek inside to see baby stars being born.

Scient Alert says that FrEGGs are so dense that they hinder the star-forming process, although they don’t stop it from happening completely. But it does mean that the stars formed inside them are relatively low mass. But this small mass actually means it will have a much longer lifespan than other massive stars.

Another FrEGG in the Cassiopeia constellation, J025027.7+600849, was also spotted by Hubble in July, earlier this year.

[via Science Alert]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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