Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have observed HH 45, a Herbig-Haro object embedded in the nebula NGC 1977.
Herbig-Haro objects are small bright patches of nebulosity associated with newborn stars.
They are formed when gas ejected by young stars collides with clouds of gas and dust nearby at high speeds.
“Herbig-Haro objects occur when hot gas ejected by a newborn star collides with the gas and dust around it at hundreds of km per second, creating bright shock waves,” Hubble astronomers said.
“In this image of HH 45, blue indicates ionized oxygen (O II) and purple shows ionized magnesium (Mg II).”
“We were particularly interested in these elements because they can be used to identify shocks and ionization fronts.”
HH 45 is located in NGC 1977, a reflection nebula located some 1,500 light-years away in the constellation of Orion.
Otherwise known as C 0532-048, NGC 1977 is part of a trio of reflection nebulae that make up the Running Man Nebula.
“NGC 1977 — like its companions NGC 1975 and NGC 1973 — is a reflection nebula, which means that it doesn’t emit light on its own, but reflects light from nearby stars, like a streetlight illuminating fog,” the researchers said.
“Hubble observed this region to look for stellar jets and planet-forming disks around young stars, and examine how their environment affects the evolution of such disks.”