The Stellar Nursery of Perseus
Today’s OOTW features Alice’s OOTD written on the 2nd of September 2010.
This is NGC 1491, a HII region lurking in the Perseus constellation just above the star Lambda Persei.
HII regions are what they say on the tin; they are made of of hydrogen gas, a considerable amount of which has been ionized by radiation coming from the shorter wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum.
HII regions are ionized after a nebula has finished forming a new batch of stars; the regions that shroud the stars get blown away by the winds given off by the stars, creating the bubbles and filaments in the nebula. As these stars emit huge amounts of ultraviolet light they ionize – meaning the ultraviolet light shoves off the electrons from the atoms that make up the hydrogen gas – everything surrounding them, heating up the clouds of nebulous material and lighting it up, creating great eye candy for us!
Alice gives us different views of NGC 1491 in her OOTD, such as this lovely one:
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any files that give the full view of the nebula!
And to quote Alice:
Why a nebula? Because nebulae might well soon be on the menu. They’re part of Project IX, whose exact definition is still . . . well . . . nebulous! Well, let’s collapse those clouds and make it less so. Can you suggest a name? They’re looking forward to hearing from you!