Friday, November 18, 2005

The Great Galactic Black Widow

The Great Galactic Black Widow (10/31/05)

In the Spitzer image, captured by a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison astronomer Edward Churchwell, the two opposing bubbles that make up the black widow's body are being formed in opposite directions by the powerful outflows from massive groups of forming stars. The baby stars can be seen inside the widow's "stomach" where the two bubbles meet.

When individual stars form from molecular clouds of gas and dust they produce intense radiation and very strong particle winds. Both the radiation and the stellar winds blow the dust outward from the star creating a cavity or, bubble. In the case of the Black Widow Nebula, astronomers suspect that a large cloud of gas and dust condensed to create multiple clusters of massive star formation. The combined winds from these large stars probably blew out bubbles into the direction of least resistance, forming a double-bubble.

Black Widow Nebula - Click for 640×640 image

Another article: here



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