Hubble Space Telescope Spots Free-Floating EGG

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have snapped a remarkable image of J025157.5+600606, a free-floating evaporating gaseous globule located in the constellation of Cassiopeia.

This Hubble image shows the free-floating evaporating gaseous globule J025157.5+600606. The color image is made up of observations from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) in the near-infrared and optical parts of the spectrum. Three filters were used to sample various wavelengths. The color results from assigning different hues to each monochromatic image associated with an individual filter. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Hubble / R. Sahai.

Evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs) are compact pockets of dense interstellar gas within which stars are being born.

These rare objects were first identified in Hubble images of the Eagle Nebula in 1995.

EGGs have very long tails and are approximately 100 AU (astronomical units) across.

They are being photoevaporated more slowly than their lower density surroundings, and so are left behind as the gas around them is driven off.

J025157.5+600606 is a so-called free-floating evaporating gaseous globule (frEGG).

“When a massive new star starts to shine while still within the cool molecular cloud from which it formed, its energetic radiation can ionize the cloud’s hydrogen and create a large, hot bubble of ionized gas,” Hubble astronomers explained.

“Amazingly, located within this bubble of hot gas around a nearby massive star are the frEGGs: dark compact globules of dust and gas, some of which are giving birth to low-mass stars.”

“The boundary between the cool, dusty frEGG and the hot gas bubble is seen as the glowing purple/blue edges in this fascinating image,” they said.

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