Astronomy Picture of the Day

Bullet Pillars in Orion

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#99208 by @ 27.03.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
Bullet Pillars in Orion

Why are bullets of gas shooting out of the Orion Nebula?

Nobody is yet sure.

First discovered in 1983, each bullet is actually about the size of
our Solar System, and
moving at about 400 km/sec from a central source dubbed IRc2.

The age of the bullets, which can be found from their speed and distance from
IRc2, is very young -- typically less than 1,000 years.

As the
bullets rip through the interior of the
Orion Nebula,
a small percentage of iron gas causes the tip of each bullet to glow blue,
while each bullet leaves a tubular pillar that glows by the light of heated hydrogen gas.

Pictured above, the Orion bullets were captured in unprecedented detail by the adaptive optics technology of the Gemini North telescope.

M42, the Orion Nebula,
is the closest major star forming region to us and filled with changing
dust, gas, and bright stars.

The Orion Nebula, is located about 1,500
light years away and
can be seen with the unaided eye toward the
constellation of Orion.

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