46.4 MB (46.0 MB compressed)
4792 x 3382 pixels
40.6 x 28.7 cm ⏐ 16.0 x 11.3 in (300dpi)
NASA / ESA / STSCI / C.O'DELL, RICE U. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / STSCI / C.O'DELL, RICE U. / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Birth of another solar system. False-colour image of a protoplanetary disc ("proplyd") around a young star in the Orion Nebula, observed by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The star, thought to be less than one million years old, is the white patch at centre. Here, a long 'tail' is seen: matter evaporated from the proplyd by nearby hot stars, then carried away by a strong stellar "wind". The dust is material left over from stellar formation, its rotation causing it to form a flattened disc around the new star. The dust may later agglomerate to form planets. The HST has discovered 15 such proplyds in the Orion Nebula.
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