Haunting Hubble image depicts a region where new stars are born

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope grabbed a beautiful, haunting image of a gaseous “stellar nursery” that the space agencies published Friday.

In this image we can see what’s known as Free-floating Evaporating Gaseous Globule (frEGGs), dark and compact globules of dust and gas, surrounded by a bubble of hot, ionized gas wherein new stars can be formed. The purple-ish, blue-ish border around the dusty frEGGs is the boundary between the the cooler globules and the hotter gas bubble, according to the ESA.

A larger, more complete image of the frEGGs shows how far they stretch.

A larger, more complete image of the frEGGs shows how far they stretch.

Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Sahai

Near the dust, a massive new star has begun the shine, formed by spinning, coalescing gas clouds that build up mass and progressively grow hotter. This star’s heat radiates outward into the surrounding gas, causing hydrogen atoms to shed electrons and form a superhot outer shell of ionic atoms and free electrons that continuously collide with each other.

Some of the frEGGS inside of this nebula are in the process of forming their own stars, which is where the term “nursery” comes in.

A Hubble image published in July depicts different collection of frEGGs similarly found around a massive star. This was the first time that a nebula was given the class distinction of frEGG.

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