Hubble sees a nascent star in an unusual nebula

In a new image of the Running Man Nebula (NGC 1977), Hubble captures the bright jet of a newly formed star.

The Hubble Space Telescope recently photographed the trail of the newly born star Parengo 2042 deep in the NGC 1977 reflection nebula.

In the Hubble photograph, the jet itself is orange, and the ionizing gas is red. The bright western part of the jet is surrounded by a series of orange arcs, the size of which decreases with increasing distance from the star, forming a cone or spindle shape.

NGC 1977, like its satellites NGC 1975 and NGC 1973, is part of the Running Man reflection nebula complex in the constellation Orion. This means that it does not emit light by itself, but reflects light from nearby stars, like a street lamp illuminating fog. Hubble has observed this area to find stellar jets and planet-forming disks around young stars.

Also this week, Hubble discovered Herbig’s object, Haro HH 45. Recall that these are small areas of nebulae associated with young stars. They form when the gas expelled by these stars interacts with nearby clouds of gas and dust at speeds of several hundred kilometers per second.

In this image, blue stands for ionized oxygen (O II) and purple stands for ionized magnesium (Mg II).

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Alexandr Ivanov earned his Licentiate Engineer in Systems and Computer Engineering from the Free International University of Moldova. Since 2013, Alexandr has been working as a freelance web programmer.
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Alexandr Ivanov

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