Supersonic “Bullets” of Gas Ejected from the Orion Nebula

Article written: 23 Mar , 2007
Updated: 24 Mar , 2012
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Orion nebula. Image credit: GeminiThis beautiful photograph shows a small portion of the star-forming Orion Nebula. The strange, wake-like structures are supersonic “bullets” of gas ejected from the nebula. What actually caused these ejections is still unknown, but astronomers think there was a recent violent event that fired them out.

Each one of these bullets of gas has a cloud of iron atoms at its tip, glowing bright blue in the image. This is followed by longer wakes of heated hydrogen gas, which are coloured orange in the photo.

The photograph was captured by the Gemini observatory’s powerful adaptive optics system. This allows the observatory to compensate for atmospheric distortions that blur its view.

Original Source: Gemini News Release


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