Share

News Release Archive:

News Release 523 of 951

May 9, 2002 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2002-12

Gaseous Streamers Flutter in Stellar Breeze

A Hubble Heritage Release

May 9, 2002: N44C is the designation for a region of ionized hydrogen gas surrounding an association of young stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a nearby, small companion galaxy to the Milky Way visible from the Southern Hemisphere. N44C is part of the larger N44 complex, which includes young, hot, massive stars, nebulae, and a "superbubble" blown out by multiple supernova explosions.

See the rest:

Q & A: Understanding the Discovery

  1. 1. Why is N44C interesting to astronomers?


  2. N44C is an intriguing object because the star mainly responsible for illuminating the nebula is unusually hot. The most massive stars, ranging from 10-50 times more massive than the Sun, have maximum temperatures of 54,000 to 90,000 degrees Fahrenheit (30,000 to 50,000 degrees Kelvin). The star illuminating N44C appears to be significantly hotter, with a temperature of about 135,000 degrees Fahrenheit (75,000 degrees Kelvin)!

    Ideas proposed to explain this unusually high temperature include the possibility of a neutron star or black hole that intermittently produces X-rays but is now "switched off."

    The filaments on the top right of the image surround a Wolf-Rayet star, another kind of rare star characterized by an exceptionally vigorous "wind" of charged particles. The shock of the wind colliding with the surrounding gas causes the gas to glow.

 
Back to top

Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Acknowledgment: D. Garnett (University of Arizona)