NASA and the European Space Agency reveal the story of death and dust in the constellation Orion


NASA and the European Space Agency reveal the story of death and dust in the constellation Orion

This infrared image of the Orion Nebula features lots of dust but no stars. At these infrared wavelengths, it is possible to see hot spots where new stars are forming, while unseen massive stars have carved caverns out of empty space. Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech

A new image that combines previously released data from three telescopes shows a region that includes the Orion Nebula, named after the mighty hunter from Greek mythology who was cut open by a scorpion sting. But the story of how this dusty region came to be is just as exciting.

The Orion Nebula is located in the constellation of Orion, which takes the form of a hunter raising a club and shield at an unseen target. Three stars in a line together are known as Orion’s belt. The region shown in the image aligns with another series of stars perpendicular to the belt, known as Saif Orion. If you could see it in the sky, the area would appear the size of a full moon.

Two massive caverns dominating the cloud have been carved out by giant stars (not visible in this image) that can emit up to a million times more light than our sun. All that radiation breaks up the dust grains there, helping to form a pair of cavities. Much of the remaining dust is swept away by winds from stars or when stars die explosively as supernovae.

There’s a lot to see in this flyby of the new infrared image of the Orion Nebula, such as cavities carved out by unseen massive stars and bright spots where new stars are forming. The colors represent infrared wavelengths invisible to the human eye, captured by three infrared space telescopes. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The blue light In these areas it refers to warm dust. observed in infrared light—a range of wavelengths outside of what human eyes Detectable — Viewings were provided by NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), now operating under the moniker NEOWISE. Both Spitzer and WISE are managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Around the edge of the two cavernous areas, the dust that appears green is slightly cooler. The red color indicates cold dust, which reaches a temperature of about 440 F (minus 260 C). red f green light It presents data from the now-retired Herschel Space Telescope, a European Space Agency (ESA) observatory that captures wavelengths of light in the far infrared and microwave ranges, where cool dust radiates.

Herschel’s Large Mirror provided high-resolution views of these clouds, full of features, nooks and crannies. The cool dust appears mostly at the fringes of the dust cloud, far from the regions where stars are forming.

Between the two hollow regions are orange filaments where dust condenses and forms new stars. Over time, these filaments may produce new giant stars that reshape the region again.

the quote: NASA and ESA Reveal Story of Death and Dust in the Constellation Orion (2022, November 22) Retrieved November 22, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-nasa-esa-reveal-tale-death.html

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