The image of Hubble Space Telescope shared this week is particularly dreamy and impressive, showcasing the bright colors and smooth shapes of a Herbig-Haro object called HH 505. These nebula-like objects form from young, energetic stars, which emit colliding jets of ionized gas. with clouds of dust and gas.
“Herbig-Haro objects are luminous regions surrounding newborn stars that form when stellar winds or gas jets erupt from these infant stars creating shock waves that collide with nearby gas and dust at high speeds” , explain Hubble scientists. “In the case of HH 505, these outflows originate from the star IX Ori, which is located on the outskirts of the Orion Nebula about 1,000 light-years from Earth. The outflows themselves are visible as gracefully curved structures at the top and bottom of this image. Their interaction with the large-scale flow of gas and dust from the nebula’s core distorts them into sinuous curves.”
This image was taken using Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, which generally looks in the visible light range, but can also look into the far-ultraviolet part of the spectrum. In the Orion nebula, where the object HH 505 is located, there are abundant ultraviolet light emitted by massive stars, which interacts with the dust and gas of the nebula to create gaps and slow down the birth of new stars.
The star formation process is a careful balance, as stars are born in dense pockets of dust and gas that are pulled together by gravity. When there is a lot of dust and gas, stars can form more easily, but once stars have formed, they emit stellar winds that prevent more stars from being born nearby.
The Orion Nebula it is a hotbed of star formation and because it is relatively close, about 1,500 light-years from Earth, it is often studied to understand more about how stars are born.