Hubble Space Telescope takes great photo of Soul Nebula

January 31, 2023  10:30

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a stunning image of a small region of the Westerhout 5 Nebula, also known as the Soul Nebula, reports

The spread of red light in this nebula, located at a distance of 7000 light years from Earth, is due to the emission of H-alpha rays. This happens when many electrons in hydrogen atoms lose energy, which causes the emission of this particular red light, Hubble representatives wrote in the description of the photo.

Due to the red light, above the center to the left of the photo is a tadpole-like so-called free-floating vaporizing  gaseous globules, officially named KAG2008.

The Soul Nebula.jpg (110 KB)

Westerhout 5 Nebula

KAG2008 belongs to a special class of evaporating gas globules that form in nebulae when energetic radiation from young stars ionizes the surrounding gas, removing electrons. This causes gas to begin to dissipate from these bright stars—a process called photoevaporation.

The gas in these formations is so dense that the process of photoevaporation occurs much more slowly than in the case of gas in the surrounding areas. Due to slower photoevaporation and protection from scattering, the gas is able to remain dense enough to support the formation of protostars that eventually become full-fledged stars. Astronomers are interested in these parts of the nebulae precisely because the process of star formation may have taken place here.

Astronomers have discovered the existence of free-floating evaporating  gaseous globules only recently. A prominent example of these structures is found at the ends of the nebula called the Pillars of Creation.

Heart Nebula.JPG (101 KB)

Heart Nebula

The Soul Nebula has another "partner," the Heart Nebula. Officially known as IC 1805, this massive cloud of gas and dust is so named because of its glowing hydrogen content that makes it look like a pink heart. The Heart Nebula is located at a distance of 7500 light years from Earth. 

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