Release Images

Release No.: 2009-22
For Release: Monday, November 16, 2009 - 4:00am

Close-Up Movie Shows Hidden Details in the Birth of Super-Suns

Artist's conception of the "boiling disk" surrounding the massive young stellar object known as Orion Source I. A disk of hot, ionized gas surrounds the central star, blocking our view. A cool wind of gas is driven from the upper and lower surfaces of the disk (as indicated by the colored arrows) and is sculpted into an hourglass shape by tangled magnetic field lines (shown as thin blue lines). This outflow is lit up by emission from silicon monoxide molecules - emission that has been imaged and tracked by radio astronomers month-to-month. The entire disk and wind are rotating, leading to observable Doppler shifts of the material entrained in the wind; redder colors represent material with a component of motion away from the observer (into the plane of the sky), while bluer colors represent material moving toward the observer (out of the plane of the sky).

Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

This movie shows actual data from the Very Long Baseline Array, which imaged
clumps of gas flowing away from the young protostar known as Source I over the course of two years. Gas moving toward us (blueshifted) is colored green or blue, while gas moving away from us (redshifted) is colored yellow, orange and red. The protostar is not visible to the VLBA; its location is marked by a red dot and crosshairs.

L. Matthews (MIT)