The Sciences

Young Star

Hubble shows the violent birth of a massive star.


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

A star ten times the mass of the sun will burn for only a few million years, but they will be tempestuous years. Such giants are typically 10,000 times brighter than the sun. This Hubble Space Telescope image shows the violent results of the birth of at least one massive star. The false-color image was taken with Hubble's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer, which penetrated the veil of dust surrounding the Orion nebula. The nebula, a giant interstellar gas cloud, is a stellar nursery. Because it is so close to Earth (just 1,500 light-years away), it's the best laboratory astrophysicists have for studying massive star formation. The red fingerlike projections are outflows of hydrogen, created by the winds of a newly forming star. (The green haze is ionized hydrogen; the blue bubbles, stars.) Researchers aren't sure of the exact location of the young star-or if there is more than one. The star, says astrophysicist Edwin Erickson of NASA's Ames Research Center, is probably a couple of light-years away from the hydrogen outflows. "We think the source is located a bit south, or down, from the blue empty region in the center of the outflow."

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.