Feeding a Baby Star with a Dusty Hamburger

Eso_potw1720a_500

eso_potw1720a May 15th, 2017

Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/ Lee et al.

This intriguing image may look like a collection of coloured blobs, but it is actually a high-resolution snapshot of a newborn star enshrouded in dust. Just 1300 light-years away in the Orion Nebula, the star, named HH 212, is remarkably young. The average lifespan of such a low-mass star is around 100 billion years, but this star is only 40 000 years old truly an infant in stellar terms. In the cores of the vastmolecular clouds in star formation regions, an ongoing battle rages; gravity versus the pressure of gas and dust. If gravity wins, it forces the gas and dust to collapse into a hot dense core that eventually ignites forming a protostar. All the leftover gas and dust form a spinning disc around this baby star, and in many star systems they eventually coalesce to make planets. Such very young protostellar discs have been hard to image because of their relatively small size, but now the exceedingly high resolution of theAtacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) makes it possible to understand the intricate details of star and planet formation. A closer look at HH 212 reveals a prominent, cool, dark dust lane running through the disc, sandwiched between two brighter regions that are heated by the protostar. The result resembles a cosmic hamburger. This is the very first time astronomers have spotted such a dust lane in the earliest phases of star formation, and so it may provide clues as to how planetary systems are born.

Image Source: https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1720a/

Curator: European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
HH 212
Subject - Milky Way
Star » Circumstellar Material » Disk » Protoplanetary
Eso_potw1720a_1280
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ID
potw1720a
Subject Category
B.3.7.2.1  
Subject Name
HH 212
Credits
ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/ Lee et al.
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1720a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
2558.0, 1682.0
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
European Southern Observatory
URL
http://www.eso.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
European Southern Observatory
Publisher ID
eso
Resource ID
potw1720a
Metadata Date
2017-05-16T10:03:27+02:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.