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News Release 101 of 168

March 28, 2001 09:00 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2001-11

Massive Infant Stars Rock their Cradle

March 28, 2001: Extremely intense radiation from newly born, ultra-bright stars has blown a glowing spherical bubble in the nebula N83B, also known as NGC 1748. A new Hubble telescope image has helped to decipher the complex interplay of gas and radiation of a star-forming region in the nearby galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. The image graphically illustrates just how these massive stars sculpt their environment by generating powerful winds that alter the shape of the parent gaseous nebula. These processes are also seen in our Milky Way in regions like the Orion Nebula.

Q & A: Understanding the Discovery

  1. 1. Where are these young, hefty stars?

  2. Hubble has identified about 20 young and luminous stars throughout the region. The white dot at the very center of the gaseous cloud, just below the brightest region, is a star about 30 times more massive and almost 200,000 times brighter than our Sun. The intense light and powerful stellar "winds" from this ultra-bright star have cleared away the surrounding gas to form a large cavity. The bubble is approximately 25 light-years across - about the same size as the famous star-forming factory, the Orion Nebula. The Orion Nebula is sculpted by intense radiation from newly born stars in the same way as N83B.

    The hottest star in the nebula is 45 times more massive than the Sun and is embedded in the brightest region in the nebula. This bright region, situated just above the center, is only about 2 light-years across. The region's small size and its intense glow are telltale signs of a very young, massive star. This star is the youngest newcomer to this part of the Large Magellanic Cloud. The Hubble picture shows a bright arc structure just below the luminous star. This impressive ridge may have been created in the glowing gas by the hot star's powerful wind.

    To the right of the glowing nebula is a much larger, diffuse nebula known as DEM22d, which is partly obscured by an extended lane of dust and gas.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, Mohammad Heydari-Malayeri (Observatoire de Paris, France)