Hubble Image of the Day: A Variety of Intriguing Cosmic Phenomena

Hubble Views a Dark Nebula Called Dobashi 4173

In this Hubble image, a young stellar object called SSTC2D J033038.2+303212 is seen surrounded by a misty column of material and bright gas bursts. This object is in the early stages of becoming a full-grown star and is encircled by a bright swirling disc seen edge-on. Nearby, a reflection nebula named [B77] 63 contains bright stars, including LkHA 326 and LZK 18, which illuminate the gas and shape it. The most striking element is a dark stream emerging from [B77] 63, a dense cloud known as Dobashi 4173, creating a striking contrast against the background stars. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

This newly released Hubble Space Telescope image shows a variety of intriguing cosmic phenomena – like a star in the early stages of its life and a dark nebula called Dobashi 4173.

Surrounded by bright stars, towards the upper middle of the frame we see a small young stellar object (YSO) known as SSTC2D J033038.2+303212. Located in the constellation of Perseus, this star is in the early stages of its life and is still forming into a fully grown star. In this view from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) it appears to have a murky chimney of material emanating outwards and downwards, framed by bright bursts of gas flowing from the star itself. This fledgling star is actually surrounded by a bright disc of material swirling around it as it forms — a disc that we see edge-on from our perspective.

However, this small bright speck is dwarfed by its cosmic neighbor towards the bottom of the frame, a clump of bright, wispy gas swirling around as it appears to spew dark material out into space. The bright cloud is a reflection nebula known as [B77] 63, a cloud of interstellar gas that is reflecting light from the stars embedded within it. There are actually a number of bright stars within [B77] 63, most notably the emission-line star LkHA 326, and its very near neighbor LZK 18.

These stars are lighting up the surrounding gas and sculpting it into the wispy shape seen in this image. However, the most dramatic part of the image seems to be a dark stream of smoke piling outwards from [B77] 63 and its stars — a dark nebula called Dobashi 4173. Dark nebulae are incredibly dense clouds of pitch-dark material that obscure the patches of the sky behind them, seemingly creating great rips and eerily empty chunks of the sky. The stars speckled on top of this extreme blackness actually lie between us and Dobashi 4173.


3 Comments on "Hubble Image of the Day: A Variety of Intriguing Cosmic Phenomena"

  1. A growing problem is that SciTech doesn’t give enough information to know which spots of light you’re talking about. “Towards the upper middle… we see a small young stellar object.” I can see at least four points of light that fit that description. Can you possibly point to the one you’re talking about?

    “…appears to have a murky chimney of material emanating outwards and downwards…” Really? Nothing that I can see has a “murky chimney of material”. There’s a murky chimney of black pointing down, but that’s probably not what you mean.

    Finally there’s “…framed by bright bursts of gas flowing from the star itself.” It occurs to me you might be referring to some other image than the one you’ve published. This is a large photograph with a lot going on, but “framed by bright bursts of gas…?” What here fits that description?

    Surely you can find some way of indicating these objects. If pointing them out would ruin the aesthetic effect, possibly just specifying X and Y coordinates on the image, then identifying the coordinates you mean, would help some of your beleaguered viewers.

    Other than that, I love to pour over your daily cosmic visions!

    • Thanks for the feedback Kent. We always try to be as clear as possible, but we are limited to the information given to us. The picture and description above is all that the Hubble press release contained; so in order to avoid mislabeling the image, we left it as is. Many of our other posts contain labeled or circled objects in the image to help describe what the article is talking about. If you click on the image, you see a much larger view and get a better detailed look. Thanks.

  2. Beautiful image

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