Ssc2003-06f cs



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This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope transforms a dark cloud into a silky translucent veil, revealing the molecular outflow from an otherwise hidden newborn star. Using near-infrared light, Spitzer pierces through the dark cloud to detect the embedded outflow in an object called HH 46/47. Herbig-Haro (HH) objects are bright, nebulous regions of gas and dust that are usually buried within dark clouds. They are formed when supersonic gas ejected from a forming protostar, or embryonic star, interacts with the surrounding interstellar medium. These young stars are often detected only in the infrared.

The Spitzer image was obtained with the infrared array camera. Emission at 3.6 microns is shown as blue, emission from 4.5 and 5.8 microns has been combined as green, and 8.0 micron emission is depicted as red.

HH 46/47 is a striking example of a low mass protostar ejecting a jet and creating a bipolar, or two-sided, outflow. The central protostar lies inside a dark cloud (known as a 'Bok globule') which is illuminated by the nearby Gum Nebula. Located at a distance of 1140 light-years and found in the constellation Vela, the protostar is hidden from view in the visible-light image (inset). With Spitzer, the star and its dazzling jets of molecular gas appear with clarity.

The 8-micron channel of the infrared array camera is sensitive to emission from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These organic molecules, comprised of carbon and hydrogen, are excited by the surrounding radiation field and become luminescent, accounting for the reddish cloud. Note that the boundary layer of the 8-micron emission corresponds to the lower right edge of the dark cloud in the visible-light picture.

Outflows are fascinating objects, since they characterize one of the most energetic phases of the formation of low-mass stars (like our Sun). The jets arising from these protostars can reach sizes of trillions of miles and velocities of hundreds of thousands miles per hour. Outflows are clear evidence of the presence of a process that creates supersonic beams of gas. This mechanism is tightly bound to the presence of circumstellar discs which surround the young stars. Such discs are likely to contain the materials from which planetary systems form. Our Sun probably underwent a similar process some 4.5 billion years ago. Hence the interest in understanding how quickly and efficiently this mass accretion and loss process takes place in protostars.

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Description HH46/47
Date 2010-05-09 15:38 (UTC)

Applications-graphics.svg This is a retouched picture, which means that it has been digitally altered from its original version. Modifications: Czech translation. The original can be viewed here: Ssc2003-06f.jpg. Modifications made by Jan.Kamenicek.

I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license:
Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)


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    • 2007-07-05T21:12:22Z Anzibanonzi 1500x1200 (1013912 Bytes) This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope transforms a dark cloud into a silky translucent veil, revealing the molecular outflow from an otherwise hidden newborn star. Using near-infrared light, Spitzer pierces through t

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EXIF data:
File name ssc2003-06f_cs.jpg
Size, Mbytes 0.9896083984375
Mime type image/jpeg
Orientation of image 1
Image resolution in width direction 300
Image resolution in height direction 300
Unit of X and Y resolution 2
Color space information 65535
Exif image width 1500
Exif image length 1200
Software used Adobe Photoshop CS Windows

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