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Tim Kendall's Extreme Astrophysics

Star-forming filaments in Orion revealed by ALMA

29 Mar 2018, 15:23 UTC
Star-forming filaments in Orion revealed by ALMA
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This stunning new ALMA image reveals the thermal millimetre-wave emission from extremely cold gas (red) in the region of the Orion nebula. According to the current paradigm of star formation, material flows along the newly discovered filaments, and where filaments intersect, hubs are formed which are likely sites for future massive star formation. In blue is the VLT/HAWK-I near-infrared imaging data, with the famous Trapezium visible at upper left. Four stars are easily visible with a small telescope; larger amateur instruments should allow six Trapezium stars to be visible, in good seeing conditions. From the ESO press release:

This spectacular and unusual image shows part of the famous Orion Nebula, a star formation region lying about 1350 light-years from Earth. It combines a mosaic of millimetre-wavelength images from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the IRAM 30-metre telescope, shown in red, with a more familiar infrared view from the HAWK-I instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, shown in blue. The group of bright blue-white stars at the upper-left is the Trapezium Cluster — made up of hot young stars that are only a few million years old. The wispy, fibre-like structures seen in this large image are long filaments ...

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