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News Release Archive:

News Release 200 of 292

June 10, 1999 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1999-23

A Butterfly-Shaped "Papillon" Nebula Yields Secrets of Massive Star Birth

June 10, 1999: Here is a Hubble telescope view of a turbulent cauldron of star birth called N159, which is taking place 170,000 light-years away in our satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. Torrential stellar winds from hot, newborn, massive stars within the nebula sculpt ridges, arcs, and filaments in the vast cloud, which is over 150 light-years across.

A rare type of compact, illuminated "blob" is resolved for the first time to be a butterfly-shaped or "Papillon" (French for "butterfly") Nebula, buried in the center of the maelstrom of glowing gases and dark dust. The unprecedented details of the structure of the Papillon, itself less than 2 light-years in size, are seen in the inset picture.

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Credit: M. Heydari-Malayeri (Paris Observatory) and NASA/ESA