News Release Archive:

News Release 725 of 1057

September 29, 1999 01:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1999-33

Hubble Captures a Grand View of the Birth of "Hefty" Stars

September 29, 1999: Pictures taken in infrared and visible light by the Hubble telescope recount a vivid story of the turbulent birthing process of massive stars.

The images show that powerful radiation and high-speed material unleashed by "hefty" adult stars residing in the hub of the 30 Doradus Nebula are triggering a new burst of star birth in the surrounding suburbs. Like their adult relatives, the fledgling stars are creating all sorts of havoc in their environment. Nascent stars embedded in columns of gas and dust, for example, are blowing away the tops of their nurseries, like a volcano blasting material into the sky. Jets of material streaming from another developing star are slamming into surrounding dust and gas in opposite directions, causing it to glow in moving patterns. These views [the top panel taken in visible light, the bottom in infrared] represent part of the highly active region of star birth.

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WFPC2 image credit: NASA, John Trauger (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and James Westphal (California Institute of Technology)

NICMOS image credit: NASA, Nolan Walborn (Space Telescope Science Institute) and Rodolfo Barba' (La Plata Observatory)