Orion Nebula: Planetary Protection--X-ray Super Flares Aid Formation of "Solar Systems" (A rich cluster of young stars about 1,500 light years from Earth.)
Description: This Chandra image was produced by observing the Orion Nebula almost continuously for thirteen days. The long observation enabled scientists to study the X-ray behavior of young Sun-like stars with ages between one and ten million years. They discovered that these young stars produce violent X-ray outbursts, or flares, that are much more frequent and energetic than anything seen today from our 4.6 billion-year-old Sun. The range of flare energies is large, with some of the stars producing flares that are a hundred times larger than others. Theoretical work indicates that intensely flaring stars would create strong turbulence in any planet-forming disks around these stars and lead to the formation of planetary systems similar to our solar system.
Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray
Persistent URL: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2005/orion/
Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Collection: Normal Stars and Star Clusters Collection
Gift line: NASA/CXC/Penn State/E.Feigelson
Accession number: orion05