In the brightest region of this glowing nebula called RCW 34, gas is
heated dramatically by young stars and expands through the surrounding
cooler gas. Once the heated hydrogen reaches the borders of the gas
cloud, it bursts outwards into the vacuum like the contents of an
uncorked champagne bottle — this process is referred to as champagne
flow. But the young star-forming region RCW 34 has more to offer than a
few bubbles; there seem to have been multiple episodes of star formation
within the same cloud.
The brightly glowing plumes seen in this image are reminiscent of an underwater scene, with turquoise-tinted currents and nebulous strands reaching out into the surroundings.
However, this is no ocean. This image actually shows part of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small nearby galaxy that orbits our galaxy, the Milky Way, and appears as a blurred blob in our skies. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has peeked many times into this galaxy, releasing stunning images of the whirling clouds of gas and sparkling stars (opo9944a, heic1301, potw1408a).
This image shows part of the Tarantula Nebula’s outskirts. This famously beautiful nebula, located within the LMC, is a frequent target for Hubble (heic1206, heic1402).
In most images of the LMC the colour is completely different to that seen here. This is because, in this new image, a different set of filters was used. The customary R filter, which selects the red light, was replaced by a filter letting through the near-infrared light. In traditional images, the hydrogen gas appears pink because it shines most brightly in the red. Here however, other less prominent emission lines dominate in the blue and green filters.
This data is part of the Archival Pure Parallel Project (APPP), a project that gathered together and processed over 1000 images taken using Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, obtained in parallel with other Hubble instruments. Much of the data in the project could be used to study a wide range of astronomical topics, including gravitational lensing and cosmic shear, exploring distant star-forming galaxies, supplementing observations in other wavelength ranges with optical data, and examining star populations from stellar heavyweights all the way down to solar-mass stars.
A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Josh Barrington.
“Rescate en La Periferia”, que es el título definitivo la primera novela gráfica de el Capitán Eclipse, que sale a la venta a lo largo del próximo mes de Junio; y que está ya en pre-venta, con un PÓSTER DE REGALO con los blue-prints, planos de cubiertas y especificaciones de la nave espacial del Capitán Eclipse, La Divine. Las medidas del poster son A3 (420x297 mm) El álbum consta de 68 páginas a todo color (170x240 mm), guionizadas y dibujadas por mí. Además, y como ya es tradición desde “Los Anillos de Beta Hidry (ver más abajo), incluirá una deliciosa receta, ad hoc, de Raúl García..
Bienvenidos a bordo.
El precio son 15 € (envío ordinario a España estará incluido en el precio, para certificado o envíos internacionales preguntar)
I’m not sure Medusa is a fair name for this gorgeous nebular region. Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have captured the most detailed image ever taken of this planetary nebula. As the star at the heart of the nebula dies over tens of thousands of years, it ejects mass from its outer layers and forms this surrounding colorful cloud. Our own Sun will eventually become an object of this kind. The Medusa Nebula spans approximately four light-years and lies at a distance of about 1500 light-years. (Image credit and copyright: ESO)