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Bubbly Newborn Star
Sig13 016

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ALMA

Observation • November 11th, 2013 • sig13-016

sig13-016

Combined observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the newly completed Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have revealed the throes of stellar birth, as never before, in the well-studied object known as HH 46/47.

Herbig-Haro (HH) objects form when jets shot out by newborn stars collide with surrounding material, producing small, bright, nebulous regions. To our eyes, the dynamics within many HH objects are obscured by enveloping gas and dust. But the infrared and submillimeter light seen by Spitzer and ALMA, respectively, pierces the dark cosmic cloud around HH 46/47 to let us in on the action. (Infrared light has longer wavelengths than what we see with our eyes, and submillimeter light has even longer wavelengths.)

In this image, the shorter-wavelength light appears blue and longer-wavelength light, red. Blue shows gas energized by the outflowing jets. The green colors trace a combination of hydrogen gas molecules and dust that follows the boundary of the gas cloud cocooning the young star. The reddish-colored areas, created by excited carbon monoxide gas, reveal that the gas in the two lobes blown out by the star's jets is expanding faster than previously thought. This faster expansion has an influence on the overall amount of turbulence in the gaseous cloud that originally spawned the star. In turn, the extra turbulence could have an impact on whether and how other stars might form in this gaseous, dusty, and thus fertile, ground for star-making.

About the Object

Name
HH 46/47Herbig-Haro 46/47
Type
Nebula > Type > Jet
Star > Evolutionary Stage > Protostar
Star > Circumstellar Material > Outflow
Distance
1,140 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 3.6 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 4.5 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 8.0 µm Spitzer IRAC
Millimeter 0.3 cm ALMA

Astrometrics

Position (J2000)
RA =8h 25m 43.0s
Dec = -51° 0' 30.1"
Field of View
5.1 x 5.1 arcminutes
Orientation
North is 0.1° left of vertical