Hubble Captures Bubbles And Baby Stars

    Newer Older

    Image release June 22, 2010

    A spectacular new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image — one of the largest ever released of a star-forming region — highlights N11, part of a complex network of gas clouds and star clusters within our neighbouring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. This region of energetic star formation is one of the most active in the nearby Universe.

    The Large Magellanic Cloud contains many bright bubbles of glowing gas. One of the largest and most spectacular has the name LHA 120-N 11, from its listing in a catalogue compiled by the American astronomer and astronaut Karl Henize in 1956, and is informally known as N11. Close up, the billowing pink clouds of glowing gas make N11 resemble a puffy swirl of fairground candy floss. From further away, its distinctive overall shape led some observers to nickname it the Bean Nebula. The dramatic and colourful features visible in the nebula are the telltale signs of star formation. N11 is a well-studied region that extends over 1000 light-years. It is the second largest star-forming region within the Large Magellanic Cloud and has produced some of the most massive stars known.

    It is the process of star formation that gives N11 its distinctive look. Three successive generations of stars, each of which formed further away from the centre of the nebula than the last, have created shells of gas and dust. These shells were blown away from the newborn stars in the turmoil of their energetic birth and early life, creating the ring shapes so prominent in this image.

    Beans are not the only terrestrial shapes to be found in this spectacular high resolution image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. In the upper left is the red bloom of nebula LHA 120-N 11A. Its rose-like petals of gas and dust are illuminated from within, thanks to the radiation from the massive hot stars at its centre. N11A is relatively compact and dense and is the site of the most recent burst of star development in the region.

    Other star clusters abound in N11, including NGC 1761 at the bottom of the image, which is a group of massive hot young stars busily pouring intense ultraviolet radiation out into space. Although it is much smaller than our own galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud is a very vigorous region of star formation. Studying these stellar nurseries helps astronomers understand a lot more about how stars are born and their ultimate development and lifespan.

    Both the Large Magellanic Cloud and its small companion, the Small Magellanic Cloud, are easily seen with the unaided eye and have always been familiar to people living in the southern hemisphere. The credit for bringing these galaxies to the attention of Europeans is usually given to Portuguese explorer Fernando de Magellan and his crew, who viewed it on their 1519 sea voyage. However, the Persian astronomer Abd Al-Rahman Al Sufi and the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci recorded the Large Magellanic Cloud in 964 and 1503 respectively.

    Credit: NASA, ESA and Jesús Maíz Apellániz (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain)

    To learn more about Hubble go to:

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation's largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

    BriannaArielle, Matteo Dunchi, and 406 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. sag1957 59 months ago | reply

      hi everyone.

    2. leticia2136 58 months ago | reply

      es super me encanto el estilo

    3. sidahmedhill1 58 months ago | reply

      sobhana rabi el malakout !!!

    4. bonniebrown766 55 months ago | reply

      love pics like this

    5. kennethuzorgold 55 months ago | reply

      Hi everybody i need someone to share my fellings with

    6. markmawson401 54 months ago | reply

      It allways impresses me and humbles the imagination as to the sheer power of cosmological forces, particularly those forces surrounding supernovas. Some appear strange and somewhat unnatural. The rectangle supernova is a prime example of a weird supernova and it's symmetry is perfect. Also check out the catseye nebula,the remanants of a collosal explosion.

    7. carter.debra58 53 months ago | reply

      I'M a huge Star Trek fan and I love when when they run into the supernova's or some type or anomaly,now I know half the stuff on there is not real but imagine if we could fly threw the stars to different planets, and nebulous just to behold the beauty that GOD created....

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts