March, April, May
Fick Calendar Home

April 2002

Cometary Globule - a stellar embryo?

Shown are two images of a region where interstellar material is collapsing to form stars. The image on the left is extended-color, and shows that the gas is barely visible, glowing feebly compared to the bright stars. The green spikes are artifacts caused by very bright stars that are heavily overexposed. The image on the right is through the hydrogen filter only - and shows clearly the distribution of glowing hydrogen gas.

The dark knot in the middle is a very dense region of gas and dust that is obscuring the background curtain of glowing gas. Within this globule, the gas is probably collapsing under its own gravity, eventually to form a new star (or cluster).

This pair of images demonstrates the power of imaging through filters and with a wide field of view. The discovery of this new globule at Fick Observatory happened because of the unique combination of instruments.