Mysterious Super Bubble Shot by Hubble (Cosmology)

While NASA is trying to understand why the scientific instruments of the Hubble Space Telescope have entered safe mode, let’s enjoy this latest image released yesterday, in which the boundaries carved in the dust of the mysterious N44 super bubble, a nebula, are evident. a emission about 170 thousand light years from Earth, in the Great Magellanic Cloud

N44 is an emission nebula , which is a nebula whose gas has been ionized by the radiation of nearby stars. When the ionized gas begins to cool – moving from a higher energy state to a lower energy state – it emits energy in the form of light, causing the nebula to glow. Located in the Great Magellanic Cloud , N44 extends for about 1000 light years and is about 170,000 light years from Earth.

It is a complex nebula filled with glowing hydrogen gas, dark streaks of dust, massive stars, and many stellar populations of different ages. One of its most distinctive features, however, is the dark area called superbubble , visible in the upper central region of the image proposed on this page, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. This “cavity” is about 250 light years wide and its presence is still a mystery. Stellar winds ejected by massive stars inside the bubble may have pushed the gas away, but this does not appear to be consistent with the wind speeds measured in the bubble. Another possibility, since the nebula is filled with massive stars that end their lives in gigantic explosions, is that the expanding shells of the old supernovae have carved the cosmic cavern.

Astronomers found a supernova remnant in the vicinity of the super bubble and traced an age difference of about 5 million years between the stars inside and those at the edge of the super bubble, indicating multiple successive star formation events with chain reactions. . The deep blue area around “5 o’clock” of the super bubble is one of the hottest regions of the nebula, where star formation is most intense.

The NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Credits: Hst, Esa, Nasa

The image was released by NASA on November 2 , while we are all still anxiously waiting for the space telescope to take its wonderful shots again. Currently, its instruments have entered Safe Mode , suspending scientific operations. NASA is continuing to investigate why error codes were generated at 1:46 am Edt October 23which indicated the loss of a specific synchronization message that provides information on the times used by the tools to correctly respond to requests for data and commands. The mission team restored the instruments, resuming scientific operations the following morning. However, at 2:38 am Edt October 25, the scientific instruments again issued error codes referring to multiple losses of synchronization messages. As a result, they independently entered Safe Mode as scheduled. Team members are now evaluating satellite data and system diagrams to try to understand the source of the synchronization problem and how to address it. They are also developing and testing procedures to collect additional data from the spacecraft. These activities should last at least a week. Otherwise, the satellite is working as expected.

Featured image: N44 is a diffuse emission nebula, visible in the Great Magellanic Cloud, in the constellation Dorado. Credits: Nasa, Esa, V. Ksoll and D. Gouliermis (Universität Heidelberg), et al .; Processing: Gladys Kober (Nasa / Catholic University of America)


Provided by INAF

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