Hubble Captures ‘Heavenly Clouds’ and Red Supergiant Star Recovering from Explosion | Science

The Hubble Space Telescope, the “younger cousin” of the James Webb super-telescope, continues to operate and make unprecedented and surprising records of our Universe.

This week, attesting that the instrument launched by NASA in 1990 has not aged and remains important to science, Hubble released both an image of a shimmering, colorful space structure and new data on the cosmic history of a supergiant star. (see further below).

The photo published jointly by NASA and the European Space Agency (see image above) shows the region of the Orion Nebula (a site of star formation) around the object Herbig-Haro HH 505, at approx. 1,000 light years from Earth.

The US space agency explains that these are regions of nebulosity associated with newborn stars. They are formed when stellar winds or jets of gas expelled from these stars form shock waves that collide with gas and dust at very high speeds.

“These expelled winds are visible as graceful curvilinear structures at the top and bottom of this image. Their interaction with the large-scale flow of gas and dust from the nebula’s core distorts them into sinuous curves,” explains NASA.

Still according to NASA, the image was captured using a Hubble instrument that surveys large areas of space with enormous precision of detail.

Astronomers studying the properties of these high-energy flows were the ones who caught it.

Betelgeuse: a red supergiant star

This same week, after analyzing scientific data from Hubble and several other observatories, a group of astronomers also revealed that the red supergiant star Betelgeuseone of the largest stars ever known, produced a gigantic explosion about 400 billion times greater than emissions of the type caused by our star, the Sun (see illustration below).

Artist’s rendering of the explosion of the red supergiant Betelgeuse. — Photo: NASA, ESA, Elizabeth Wheatley (STScI)

In the process, NASA revealed in a statement, the star lost a substantial part of its surface, producing a gigantic mass ejection several times the size of our Moon.

NASA explains that this is “something never before seen in the behavior of a normal star” and that the red supergiant that lies about 530 light-years from Earth is still slowly recovering from this “catastrophic turnaround”.

“We’ve never seen a huge mass ejection from the surface of a star,” said Andrea Dupree, a scientist at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts, USA.

“It’s an entirely new phenomenon that we can directly observe and resolve surface details with Hubble. We’re watching stellar evolution in real time.”

Betelgeuse is among the brightest stars that can be seen in the night sky. The star is so large that if it replaced the Sun at the center of our solar system, its outer surface would extend beyond Jupiter’s orbit.

According to a NASA statement, the ejection of material took place in 2019lasted for a few months and was easily noticeable even by amateur observers, as, as it moved millions of kilometers away from the star, the ejected material formed the dust cloud that blocked the star’s light here on Earth.

According to the NASA statement, the James Webb super telescope may now be able to detect material ejected by the supergiant, which continues to move away.

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