ALMA views a stellar explosion in Orion

Stellar explosions are most often associated with supernovae, the spectacular deaths of stars. But new ALMA observations of the Orion Nebula complex provide insights into explosions at the other end of the stellar life cycle, star birth. Astronomers captured these dramatic images of the remains of a 500-year-old explosion as they explored the firework-like debris from the birth of a group of massive stars, demonstrating that star formation can be a violent and explosive process too.

The colours in the ALMA data represent the relative Doppler shifting of the millimetre-wavelength light emitted by carbon monoxide gas. The blue colour in the ALMA data represents gas approaching at the highest speeds; the red colour is from gas moving toward us more slowly.

The background image includes optical and near-infrared imaging from both the Gemini South and ESO Very Large Telescope. The famous Trapezium Cluster of hot young stars appears towards the bottom of this image. The ALMA data do not cover the full image shown here.

Credit:

ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), J. Bally/H. Drass et al.

About the Image

Id:eso1711a
Type:Observation
Release date:7 April 2017, 15:00
Related releases:eso1711
Size:2707 x 2824 px

About the Object

Name:OMC, Orion Molecular Cloud
Type:Milky Way : Star : Grouping : Cluster : Open
Distance:1400 light years
Constellation:Orion
Category:Nebulae
Star Clusters

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Coordinates

Position (RA):5 35 14.08
Position (Dec):-5° 22' 2.33"
Field of view:4.02 x 4.20 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 0.1° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
Fe II
1.64 μmGemini Observatory
GSAOI
Infrared
J
1.25 μmVery Large Telescope
ISAAC
Infrared
H
1.65 μmVery Large Telescope
ISAAC
Infrared
H2
2.12 μmGemini Observatory
GSAOI
Infrared
Ks
2.2 μmVery Large Telescope
ISAAC
Millimeter
216-233 GHz
1.3 mmAtacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array
Band 6

 

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