APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by APOD Robot » Sat May 10, 2014 4:05 am

Image Inside the Flame Nebula

Explanation: The Flame Nebula stands out in this optical image of the dusty, crowded star forming regions toward Orion's belt, a mere 1,400 light-years away. X-ray data from the Chandra Observatory and infrared images from the Spitzer Space Telescope can take you inside the glowing gas and obscuring dust clouds though. Swiping your cursor (or clicking the image) will reveal many stars of the recently formed, embedded cluster NGC 2024, ranging in age from 200,000 years to 1.5 million years young. The X-ray/infrared composite image overlay spans about 15 light-years across the Flame's center. The X-ray/infrared data also indicate that the youngest stars are concentrated near the middle of the cluster. That's the opposite of the simplest models of star formation for the stellar nursery. They predict star formation to begin first in the denser center and progressively move outward toward the edges leaving the older stars, not the younger ones, in the center of the Flame Nebula.


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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by Ann » Sat May 10, 2014 5:44 am

That's so fascinating!

To me, the Flame Nebula looks relatively "substantial". It is lit up from within, not lit up by a single hot massive star in the vicinity. So it is interesting to see that there are so many stars inside, but at the same time, it is interesting to see that there does not appear to be any really massive stars inside. It looks like a rich site of low-mass star formation. Will low-mass star formation produce such a bright nebula?

It could well be, of course, that some of the stars are more massive than I think they are. I really don't know how X-ray emission is related to stellar mass, if it is related at all.

So star formation progresses from the periphery to the center? I would never have guessed.

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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by Boomer12k » Sat May 10, 2014 6:44 am

Awesome overlay and contrast of the area....like having x-ray vision...looks like "Ripples on a Pond"....

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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by slear » Sat May 10, 2014 8:07 am

Up above the center in the Infrared image there is a very bright star (? ) totally invisible in the optical image.
It seems to be an area with no much dust that could cover the optical light. What is that?

Tszabeau

Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by Tszabeau » Sat May 10, 2014 1:27 pm

I'm having trouble correlating this awesome APOD with the HD image that comes up when I click on it. How can I get my bearings? I don't see any common "landmarks" in the two images. Which portion of the first image is depicted in the second?

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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat May 10, 2014 1:43 pm

Tszabeau wrote:I'm having trouble correlating this awesome APOD with the HD image that comes up when I click on it. How can I get my bearings? I don't see any common "landmarks" in the two images. Which portion of the first image is depicted in the second?
The hires image you get when you click through is just the center third of the popup inset (IR) you get on the main page when you mouse over the image.
Chris

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Tszabeau

Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by Tszabeau » Sat May 10, 2014 2:15 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Tszabeau wrote:I'm having trouble correlating this awesome APOD with the HD image that comes up when I click on it. How can I get my bearings? I don't see any common "landmarks" in the two images. Which portion of the first image is depicted in the second?
The hires image you get when you click through is just the center third of the popup inset (IR) you get on the main page when you mouse over the image.
Thanks. I suppose it has something to do with my iPad since, it has no mouse-over ability.

superwillbee

Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by superwillbee » Sat May 10, 2014 2:17 pm

That's the opposite of the simplest models of star formation for the stellar nursery.
So maybe gravity(from the inside) is not the main factor that initially leads to star forming, but radiation -from the outside? The same way the pillars and globules are thought to be formed in e.g. M 16?

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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat May 10, 2014 2:21 pm

Tszabeau wrote:Thanks. I suppose it has something to do with my iPad since, it has no mouse-over ability.
Yeah, that's something that the APOD editors need to start considering, with so many people using mobile devices these days. Best would be a mobile version of the page, with clickable buttons to switch views (which should work on all touchscreen devices).
Chris

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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat May 10, 2014 2:26 pm

superwillbee wrote:
That's the opposite of the simplest models of star formation for the stellar nursery.
So maybe gravity(from the inside) is not the main factor that initially leads to star forming, but radiation -from the outside? The same way the pillars and globules are thought to be formed in e.g. M 16?
I doubt it. Gravity is still the driving force. The thing is, we are inclined to view this large structure as a single nebula. But dynamically, it makes more sense to think of it as many nebulas. Star formation occurs in regions where the material is denser. While those regions probably get seeded by radiation pressure, their actual collapse is driven by gravity.
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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by xongsmith » Sat May 10, 2014 3:54 pm

slear wrote:Up above the center in the Infrared image there is a very bright star (? ) totally invisible in the optical image.
It seems to be an area with no much dust that could cover the optical light. What is that?

That was the first thing I saw too! I wonder how many days part the X-ray & Infrared pictures were taken?

Very strange!

- nate

Added: From the bright star Alnitak in the image, go off diagonally towards the top left corner about an inch each way. The mouse-over blinking back and forth reveals it easily.
Last edited by xongsmith on Sat May 10, 2014 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by LocalColor » Sat May 10, 2014 4:03 pm

Wow - what a stunning image. Impressive team effort to process the data from optical, infrared and X-ray.

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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by geckzilla » Sat May 10, 2014 4:38 pm

xongsmith wrote:
slear wrote:Up above the center in the Infrared image there is a very bright star (? ) totally invisible in the optical image.
It seems to be an area with no much dust that could cover the optical light. What is that?

That was the first thing I saw too! I wonder how many days part the X-ray & Infrared pictures were taken?

Very strange!

- nate

Added: From the bright star Alnitak in the image, go off diagonally towards the top left corner about an inch each way. The mouse-over blinking back and forth reveals it easily.
You might not see the larger dust structure around it but that doesn't mean there isn't some much smaller (but still, say, a few solar systems size) dust cloud surrounding the object, which could be a young star still in its natal dust cloud or a proplyd, something like that.
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superwillbee

Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by superwillbee » Sat May 10, 2014 9:40 pm

While those regions probably get seeded by radiation pressure
Well, "Seeded bij radiation pressure" and/or "Radiation initially leading to star forming", that's more or less the same isn't it?

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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sat May 10, 2014 10:37 pm

superwillbee wrote:
While those regions probably get seeded by radiation pressure
Well, "Seeded bij radiation pressure" and/or "Radiation initially leading to star forming", that's more or less the same isn't it?
Maybe. If so, radiation is the only thing that seeds star forming regions. I don't think gravity is ever the thing that does. Radiation pressure or gas shock fronts are what create the initial discontinuities that then collapse due to gravity.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by alter-ego » Sun May 11, 2014 3:09 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
superwillbee wrote:
While those regions probably get seeded by radiation pressure
Well, "Seeded bij radiation pressure" and/or "Radiation initially leading to star forming", that's more or less the same isn't it?
... Radiation pressure or gas shock fronts are what create the initial discontinuities that then collapse due to gravity.
I believe this process is more formally referred to as Stochastic Self-Propagative Star Formation
The theory goes something like this: when star formation is triggered by the compression and heating of a large gas cloud, either by passing through a density wave or by a shock wave produced by a supernova or hypernova, the shock wave propagating through the interstellar medium that results from newborn stars igniting as they begin to burn hydrogen (i.e. hydrogen fusion) in turn triggers the formation of other stars, and those other stars trigger the formation of even more stars and so on.
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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by geckzilla » Sun May 11, 2014 6:10 pm

Tszabeau wrote:Thanks. I suppose it has something to do with my iPad since, it has no mouse-over ability.
Chris Peterson wrote:Yeah, that's something that the APOD editors need to start considering, with so many people using mobile devices these days. Best would be a mobile version of the page, with clickable buttons to switch views (which should work on all touchscreen devices).
Please email Robert Nemiroff at ( nemiroff at mtu dot edu ) about this if it affects you.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

Captn Tommy

Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by Captn Tommy » Mon May 12, 2014 2:58 pm

The remark at the bottom of the caption for today about the center being filled with young stars.
1. In relation to the central position, how do we know the star cluster is actually in the center of the nebula and not on the near side of the sphere?
2. Have the Astronomers considered that those "Young Stars" may be the old stars of the nebula?

Captn Tommy

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Re: APOD: Inside the Flame Nebula (2014 May 10)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon May 12, 2014 3:09 pm

geckzilla wrote:
Tszabeau wrote:Thanks. I suppose it has something to do with my iPad since, it has no mouse-over ability.
Chris Peterson wrote:Yeah, that's something that the APOD editors need to start considering, with so many people using mobile devices these days. Best would be a mobile version of the page, with clickable buttons to switch views (which should work on all touchscreen devices).
Please email Robert Nemiroff at ( nemiroff at mtu dot edu ) about this if it affects you.
It affects everyone. The issue of how to handle hovers is a subject of major discussion in the web design world, as nobody has come up with a satisfactory alternative for touch screens.
Chris

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