Detail View: NASA Hubble Space Telescope Collection: Massive Infant Stars Rock their Cradle

Massive Infant Stars Rock their Cradle
Object Name: 
*Credit:* NASA [ ], ESA [ ], Mohammad Heydari-Malayeri (Observatoire de Paris, France)
Fast Facts: 
Technical facts about this news release: About this Object Object Name: N83B (NGC 1748) Object Description: Star-Forming Region in the Large Magallenic Cloud (LMC) Position (J2000): R.A. 04h 54m 25.44s Dec. -69° 11' 00" Constellation: Dorado Distance: About 51 kpc (165,000 light-years) Dimensions: The bubble is approximately 25 light-years in diameter. About the Data Instrument: WFPC2 Exposure Dates: February 7, 2000; May 21, 2000 Exposure Time: ~ 1 hour Filters: F656N (Ha), F502N ([O III]), F487N (Hb) Principal Astronomers: M. Heydari-Malayeri (Observatoire de Paris, France), V. Charmandaris (Cornell University, United States), L. Deharveng (Observatoire de Marseille, France), M.R. Rosa (ST-ECF, Germany), D. Schaerer (Observatoire Midi-Pyre'ne'es, France), H. Zinnecker (Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, Germany) About this Image Image Credit: NASA, ESA and M. Heydari-Malayeri (Observatoire de Paris, France) Release Date: March 28, 2001 9:00 a.m. (EST) Orientation: Massive Stars Sculpt Gas of Nebula N83B (NGC 1748)
*Description*: Extremely intense radiation from newly born, ultra-bright stars has blown a glowing spherical bubble in the nebula N83B, also known as NGC 1748. A new NASA Hubble Space Telescope image has helped to decipher the complex interplay of gas and radiation of a star-forming region in a nearby galaxy. The image graphically illustrates just how these massive stars sculpt their environment by generating powerful winds that alter the shape of the parent gaseous nebula. These processes are also seen in our Milky Way in regions like the Orion Nebula. The Hubble telescope is famous for its contribution to our knowledge about star formation in very distant galaxies. Although most of the stars in the Universe were born several billions of years ago, when the Universe was young, star formation still continues today. This new Hubble image shows a very compact star-forming region in a small part of one of our neighboring galaxies - the Large Magellanic Cloud. This galaxy lies only 165,000 light-years from our Milky Way and can easily be seen with the naked eye from the Southern Hemisphere. Young, massive, ultra-bright stars are seen here just as they are born and emerge from the shelter of their pre-natal molecular cloud. Catching these hefty stars at their birthplace is not as easy as it may seem. Their high mass means that the young stars evolve very rapidly and are hard to find at this critical stage. Furthermore, they spend a good fraction of their youth hidden from view, shrouded by large quantities of dust in a molecular cloud. The only chance is to observe them just as they start to emerge from their cocoon - and then only with very high-resolution telescopes. Astronomers from France, the U.S., and Germany have used Hubble to study the fascinating interplay between gas, dust, and radiation from the newly born stars in this nebula. Its peculiar and turbulent structure has been revealed for the first time. This high-resolution study has also uncovered several individual stars that are responsible for lighting up this cloud of gas. The apparently innocuous-looking star at the very center of the nebula, just below the brightest region, is actually about 30 times more massive and almost 200,000 times brighter than our Sun. The intense light and powerful stellar "winds" from this ultra-bright star have cleared away the surrounding gas to form a large cavity. The bubble is approximately 25 light-years in diameter - about the same size as the famous star-forming Orion Nebula. The Orion Nebula is sculpted by intense radiation from newly born stars in the same way as N83B. Astronomers estimate that the spherical void in N83B must have been carved out of the nebula very recently - in astronomical terms - maybe as little as 30,000 years ago. The hottest star in N83B is 45 times more massive than the Sun and is embedded in the brightest region in the nebula. This bright region, situated just above the center, is only about 2 light-years across.
February 7, 2000
original url:
Release Date: 
March 28, 2001 09:00 AM (EST)