Stars ~ Stars form in the densest regions of the interstellar medium, or ISM, called molecular clouds. The ISM is the name given to the gas and dust that exists between the stars within a galaxy. It is 99% gas and 1% dust, by mass. Molecular clouds are perfect star-forming regions because the combination of these atoms into molecules is much more likely in very dense regions.
For the first time, researchers have detected a streamer of gas flowing from a massive outer disc toward the inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disc of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago. Half of Sun-like stars are born in binary systems, meaning that these findings will have major consequences for the hunt for exoplanets. (ESO)
Infant Stars _ This incredible image taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope depicts bright, blue, newly formed stars that are blowing a cavity in the center of a star-forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
The massive star factory known as the Trifid Nebula was captured in all its glory with the Wide-Field Imager camera attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in northern Chile. So named for the dark dust bands that trisect its glowing heart, the Trifid Nebula is a rare combination of three nebulae types that reveal the fury of freshly formed stars and point to more star birth in the future. The field of view of the image is approximately 13 x 17 arcminutes.
Crimson Flares. NGC 6188 is an emission nebula about 4000 ly away in the constellation Ara. Within NGC 6188 is an open cluster of bright young stars (the Ara OB1 association) known as NGC 6193. In the bottom left hand corner is a small emission nebula NGC 6164-5. The star in the middle of the nebula is believed to have created the gas cloud and causes it to glow by virtue of the UV light it emits. That gas was likely thrown off from the star, possibly by its fast rotation.
Inside the Carina Nebula: Cropped from original 465 mb tif image. A towering “mountain” of cold hydrogen gas laced with dust is the site of new star formation in the Carina Nebula (NGC 3372). The great gas pillar is being eroded by the ultraviolet radiation from the hottest newborn stars in the nebula. This portion of the Carina Nebula is home to some of the most intense star formation in the Milky Way galaxy. Credit: NASA/Hubble
Trigger-Happy Star Formation (NASA, Chandra, 8/12/09). his composite image, combining data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope shows the molecular cloud Cepheus B, located in our Galaxy about 2,400 light years from the Earth. A molecular cloud is a region containing cool interstellar gas and dust left over from the formation of the galaxy and mostly contains molecular hydrogen.