Nav: Home

Two Hubble views of the same stellar nursery

April 19, 2018

These NASA Hubble Space Telescope images compare two diverse views of the roiling heart of a vast stellar nursery, known as the Lagoon Nebula. The images, one taken in visible and the other in infrared light, celebrate Hubble's 28th anniversary in space.

The colorful visible-light image at left reveals a fantasy landscape of ridges, cavities, and mountains of gas and dust. This dust-and-gas landscape is being sculpted by powerful ultraviolet radiation and hurricane-like stellar winds unleashed by a monster young star. Located at the center of the photo, the star, known as Herschel 36, is about 200,000 times brighter than our Sun. This hefty star is 32 times more massive and 40,000 times hotter than our Sun. Herschel 36 is still very active because it is young by a star's standards, only 1 million years old.

The blistering radiation and powerful stellar winds (streams of subatomic particles) are pushing dust away in curtain-like sheets. As the monster star throws off its natal cocoon of material, it is suppressing star formation around it.

However, at the dark edges of this dynamic bubble-shaped ecosystem, stars are forming within dense clouds of gas and dust. Dark, elephant-like "trunks" of material represent dense pieces of the cocoon that are resistant to erosion by the searing ultraviolet light and serve as incubators for fledgling stars.

The star-filled image at right, taken by Hubble in near-infrared light, reveals a very different view of the Lagoon Nebula compared to its visible-light portrait. Making infrared observations of the cosmos allows astronomers to penetrate vast clouds of gas and dust to uncover hidden gems. Hubble's view offers a sneak peek at the dramatic vistas NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will provide.

The most obvious difference between Hubble's infrared and visible photos of this region is the abundance of stars that fill the infrared field of view. Most of them are more distant, background stars located behind the nebula itself. However, some of these pinpricks of light are young stars within the Lagoon Nebula. The giant star Herschel 36, near the center of the frame, shines even brighter in this infrared view.

Dark smudges known as Bok globules mark the thickest parts of the nebula, where dust protects still-forming stars and their planets. While Hubble cannot penetrate these dusty clumps, Webb will be able to see through them.

The Lagoon Nebula resides 4,000 light-years away. The image shows a region of the nebula measuring about 4 light-years across.

The observations were taken by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 between Feb. 12 and Feb. 18, 2018.
-end-
For additional images and videos, visit: http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2018-21

For NASA's Hubble website: http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

For Hubble Europe's release: http://www.spacetelescope.org/

For the 1996 Hubble Lagoon Nebula Release: http://hubblesite.org/images/news/release/1996-38

Donna Weaver / Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
410-338-4493 / 410-338-4514
dweaver@stsci.edu / villard@stsci.edu

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related Nebula Articles:

Radio astronomers peer deep into the stellar nursery of the Orion Nebula
Astronomers have released an image of a 50-light-year-long filament of star-forming gas, 1200 light-years away, in the stellar nursery of the Orion Nebula.
ALMA returns to Boomerang Nebula
An ancient, red giant star has produced the coldest known object in the cosmos.
Observatories combine to crack open the Crab Nebula
Astronomers have produced a highly detailed image of the Crab Nebula, by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Image release: Telescopes team up for dramatic new look at the crab nebula
Multiwavelength image with VLA, Spitzer, Hubble, XMM-Newton, and Chandra observatories shows the 'whole picture' of the famous Crab Nebula supernova remnant, and provides astronomers with new insights into the object's complex physics.
New Hubble mosaic of the Orion Nebula
In the search for rogue planets and failed stars astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have created a new mosaic image of the Orion Nebula.
Vast luminous nebula poses a cosmic mystery
Astronomers have found an enormous, glowing blob of gas in the distant universe, with no obvious source of power for the light it is emitting.
Scientists estimate solar nebula's lifetime
A collaborative study involving Brookhaven, MIT, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro suggests the gas cloud from which our solar system formed lasted about 4 million years.
Scientists estimate solar nebula's lifetime
MIT scientists have a new estimate for the lifetime of the solar nebula, the gaseous precursor of the solar system: Measurements from ancient meteorites suggest the solar nebula disappeared within 4 million years.
Hubble captures brilliant star death in 'rotten egg' nebula
The Calabash Nebula, pictured here -- which has the technical name OH 231.8+04.2 -- is a spectacular example of the death of a low-mass star like the sun.
A dead star's ghostly glow
The eerie glow of a dead star, which exploded long ago as a supernova, reveals itself in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the Crab Nebula.

Related Nebula Reading:

Nebula (ESS Space Marines Book 4)
by Fairfield Publishing

Stranded in a nebula. Life support is failing. The ship is overrun by enemies. Just another day as an Earth Space Service Marine.
A new book from #1 Best Selling author James David Victor

Major Andrea “Andy” Dolan and the ESS Space Marines 33rd Unit are on their way to a secret rendezvous. When the Star Chaser is attacked by Arkana, Andy must take control of a desperate situation and save the ship, and her crew, from certain destruction. Can the ESS Marines hold off the enemy, repair the ship, and get to safety before it’s too late?

Nebula is... View Details


Nebula Awards Showcase 2016
by Mercedes Lackey (Editor)

The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).  The editor, selected by SFWA’s anthology Committee (chaired by Mike Resnick), is American science fiction and fantasy writer Mercedes Lackey.  This year’s Nebula winners are Ursula Vernon, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Nancy Kress, and Jeff VanderMeer, with Alaya Dawn Johnson winning the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book. View Details


Nebula Awards Showcase 2018
by Jane Yolen (Editor)

The latest volume of the prestigious anthology series, published annually across six decades!

The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). The editor, selected by SFWA's anthology Committee (chaired by Mike Resnick), is Jane Yolen, an author of children's books, fantasy, and science fiction. This year's Nebula Award winners are Charlie Jane Anders, Seanan McGuire, William Ledbetter, Amal... View Details


Nebula Awards Showcase 2007
by Mike Resnick (Editor)

An anthology of Nebula Award-winning fiction selected by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America includes works by this year's winners--Joe Haldeman, Kelly Link, Carol Emshwiller, Grand Master Harlan Ellison, and other notables--accompanied by commentary on the current status of science fiction in the twenty-first century and its significance as a form of literature. Original. 12,000 first printing. View Details


Nebula Awards Showcase 2017
by Julie E. Czerneda (Editor)

The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). This year's editor, selected by SFWA's anthology Committee (chaired by Mike Resnick), is Canadian science fiction and fantasy writer and editor Julie Czerneda. This year's Nebula Award winners are Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, Sarah Pinsker, and Alyssa Wong, with Fran Wilde winning the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book. Also included... View Details


Nebula Awards Showcase 2001: The Year's Best SF and Fantasy Chosen by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
by Robert Silverberg (Editor)

Edited by the widely acclaimed SF author Robert Silverberg, the Nebula Awards series is "the pulse of modern science fiction" (The New York Times Book Review)

The Nebula Awards are the Academy Awards of science fiction, the finest works each year in the genre as voted by the members of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

The Nebula Awards anthology series has now reached its thirty-fifth year. This edition contains the complete award-winning texts by Ted Chiang, Mary A. Turzillo, Leslie What, and Octavia E. Butler (an excerpt from her novel The Parable of... View Details


Nebula Awards Showcase 2004
by Vonda N. McIntyre (Editor)

An anthology of Nebula Award-winning fiction selected by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America includes works by this year's winners--Neil Gaiman, Richard Chwedyk, Carol Emshwiller, Ted Chiang, and others--accompanied by commentary on the current status of science fiction in the twenty-first century and its significance as a form of literature. Original. 15,000 first printing. View Details


Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret
by Trudi Trueit (Author)

Adventure, danger, and a thrilling global mission await 12-year-old Cruz Coronado as he joins an elite school for explorers.

Cruz leaves his tranquil home in Hawaii to join 23 talented kids from around the globe to train at the Explorer Academy with the world's leading scientists to become the next generation of great explorers. But for Cruz, there's more at stake. No sooner has he arrived at the Academy than he discovers that his family has a mysterious past with the organization that could jeopardize his future. In the midst of codebreaking and cool classes, new friends and... View Details


The Realm of the Nebulae (The Silliman Memorial Lectures Series)
by Edwin Hubble (Author), Sean M. Carroll (Foreword), Robert Kirshner (Foreword)

In less than a century, the accepted picture of the universe transformed from a stagnant place, composed entirely of our own Milky Way galaxy, to a realm inhabited by billions of individual galaxies, hurtling away from one another. We must thank, in part, Edwin P. Hubble, one of the greatest observational astronomers of the 20th century. In 1936, Hubble described his principal observations and conclusions in The Realm of the Nebulae, which quickly became a classic work. Two new introductory pieces, by Robert P. Kirshner and Sean M. Carroll, explain advances since Hubble’s time... View Details


Nebula Awards Showcase 2002
by Kim Stanley Robinson (Editor)

An anthology of Nebula Award winning fiction selected by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America includes works by Eleanor Arnason, Greg Bear, Terry Bisson, Gardner Dozois, Linda Nagata, and Walter Jon Williams, accompanied by commentary on the current status of science fiction in the twenty-first century. Original. View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Inspire To Action
What motivates us to take up a cause, follow a leader, or create change? This hour, TED speakers explore stories of inspirational leadership, and what makes some movements more successful than others. Guests include high school history teacher Diane Wolk-Rogers, writer and behavioral researcher Simon Sinek, 2016 Icelandic presidential candidate Halla Tómasdóttir, professor of leadership Jochen Menges, and writer and activist Naomi Klein.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#474 Appearance Matters
This week we talk about appearance, bodies, and body image. Why does what we look like affect our headspace so much? And how do we even begin to research a topic as personal and subjective as body image? To try and find out, we speak with some of the researchers at the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) at the University of the West of England in Bristol. Psychology Professor Phillippa Diedrichs walks us through body image research, what we know so far, and how we know what we know. Professor of Appearance and Health Psychology Diana Harcourt talks about visible...