A composite image of the Orion Nebula, using insets to show protoplanetary disks (proplyds) around forming stars. Images such as this indicate that about half of all forming stars have rotating disks similar to the Solar Nebula out of which our planetary system is thought to have formed. Click here or on the image for a larger version of the original image. (NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (STScI/ESA), the HST Orion Treasury Project Team, & L. Ricci (ESO))
A false-color composite of far infrared radiation in the southern Milky Way (near the Southern Cross) shows radiation emitted by cold (approximately 10 Kelvin, or 440 degrees below zero Fahrenheit) and warmer clouds of gas and dust which are collapsing in complex stringlike networks to form new stars. This image is one of the first test images from the European Space Agency's Herschel space telescope. Unlike the visible-light images above and below in which bright regions represent glowing clouds of very hot gas, this infrared image explores temperature variations in what visible light would show only as dark, obscuring clouds. (ESA, SPIRE & PACS Consortia)
The region near the Cone Nebula (at the bottom). (T. A. Rector (NRAO), NOAO, AURA, NSF)
The Keyhole Nebula in Carina (Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), N. Walborn (STScI) & R. Barba' (La Plata Obs.), NASA) Below, a detail of the image above
The Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635) (Brad Ehrhorn & Adam Block, NOAO, AURA, NSF) Below, a closeup of the "Bubble" (Donald Walter (SCSU) et al., WFPC2, HST, NASA)
30 Doradus, in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Visible-light image, with infrared insets (Optical image J. Trauger (JPL), J. Westphal (Caltech), N. Walborn (STScI), R. Barba' (La Plata Obs.), NASA)
IRAS 05437+2502, a dusty region lit by the radiation of stars recently formed from its gas and dust. Most of the ghostlike glow of the nebula is due to bright stars at the top of the image, including (most likely) stars hidden behind the denser clouds of gas and dust near the top. An object of considerable speculation is the upside-down "V" near the top, which has been suggested to be a shock wave left by the ejection of a massive star from the young cluster, due to a multiple-star interaction which ejected the now long-gone star at speeds in excess of 120 thousand miles per hour (typical stellar velocities are more in the range of 50 to 70 thousand miles per hour). The region has not been studied in detail, being completely unnoticed until its 1983 observation by IRAS (its name refers to its position at RA 05 43.7, Dec +25 02, in the constellation of Taurus), and the HST image here was one taken during a few moments of "down" time between other observations, as a result of the object's inclusion on a list of "snapshots" which may or may not be taken as time and opportunity permits, or does not. The region shown here is a little over an arcmin across.
Open cluster Hodge 301, in the Tarantula Nebula (in the Large Magellanic Cloud). (Hubble Heritage Team (AURA / STScI/ NASA))