Stellar Winds Form a Bow Shock in Orion Nebula

First Posted: Feb 05, 2013 01:30 PM EST

Another magnificent image made by the Hubble space telescope shows a small segment of the vast stellar nursery in Orion with its beautiful clouds. It is filled with a myriad of fluid shapes associated with star formation, formed by the radiation and winds emitted by stars in various directions and intensities.

One of those stars interacting with the Orion Nebula flow is LL Orionis, which is still in its infant, formative years and is emitting a stronger wind than our own sun. The fast stellar wind running into slow moving gas causes the interesting phenomenon of a shock front looking like the bow wave of a ship, which can be seen just above the center of the picture, as a slightly glowing, arcing structure. The cosmic bow shock wave, which measures about half a light-year across, is formed like a bowl or shield in front of the young star, turned towards the hot central star cluster of the Orion Nebula.

This is because the slower gas is flowing away from the central constellation, known as the Trapezium, located off the upper left corner of the picture.

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