Monday, December 14, 2009

Pretty Proplyds

Hubble/ESA's European Home page has released a stunning set of images of proplyds in the Orion Nebula...And the "map" below shows the location of some of the objects. Both will get much bigger if clicked.
"Proplyd" is a contraction of the phrase "protoplanetary disk;" I put up a post on the idea about a year and a half ago. Not only are they gorgeous, they're at the intersection of geology and astronomy... each one of the images in the mosaic above represents a new solar system. We don't know enough yet to say what kind of planets might be in each, and as far as I know, we can't even say for certain that each one will even have planets. Still, it's kind of humbling and awe inspiring to look in one tiny little bit of our neighborhood and find not one but 30 stellar nurseries.

Much larger versions of each of the proplyds can be found on the right margin of the NASA/ESA page.

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