Science Images

Welcome to the Image Gallery page. Listed below is the beginning of our collection of SMA images. These images are produced by the SMA. You can find out more about these images by clicking on the image.

Please come back to find more images and the history behind them.

NGC 133 IRAS 4A NGC 1333 IRAS 4A: Star formation regulated by magnetic fields The protostellar system NGC 1333 IRAS 4A is the first textbook example of an hourglass-shaped magnetic field (shown by red bars) in a low mass star formation region. The color image shows the 880 micron dust continuum radiation from the dense molecular core that surrounds two still-forming Sun-like stars (their location is indicated by two triangles). Gravity is pulling the gas and dust of this interstellar cloud clump inward, warping the magnetic field in the process.
LkCa15_ds9 Hallmarks of Ongoing Planet Formation in Circumstellar Disks The 880 micron dust continuum radiation from the protoplanetary "transition" disk around the young star LkCa 15 has been imaged in fine detail (an angular resolution of about 0.3 arcsec, or 40 AU) with the SMA, taking advantage of its 0.5 km-long baselines in the "very extended" configuration.
2009 Winner 2009 SMA Image Contest Winner Congratulations to Sergio Martin Ruiz for his winning entry "Surviving the Hole". The SMA Image Contest, much like the annual NRAO "Radio Astronomy Imaging Contest", was conceived to gather visually compelling images based on SMA data to be used for a variety of purposes, including public outreach. Congratulations to Sergio Martin Ruiz for his winning entry "Surviving the Hole", a composite of emission lines from three species (CN, H2CO, and SiO in green, blue and red, respectively) in the vicinity of SgrA*, the Galacter Center supermassive black hole. The prize is an invited talk on the science behind the image (and related topics) to be given at ASIAA in Taipei, Taiwan. Thanks to the prize panel of David Aguilar (CfA Director of Public Affairs), Professor Alyssa Goodman (Harvard University), and Dr. Tom Dame (Radio Astronomer, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory).

NGC5128 Molecular gas feeding closest powerful radio-galaxy, Centaurus A (NGC5128) We have imaged with unprecedented resolution (1 arcsec, 16 pc) the molecular gas along the dust lane of the closest radio-galaxy, Centaurus A, as traced by the CO(2-1) line (green) observed using the Submillimeter Array (SMA). We resolve a large amount of molecular gas in the circumnuclear regions (r < 200 pc) in the form of a disk/torus just perpendicular to the X-ray/radio jet (Chandra/ACIS-I image, red, Kraft et al. 2003). This support a direct connection between the active nucleus and the molecular gas.

G31-41 Massive Star-Forming Region G31.41 The background shows a three-color Spitzer image of the massive star-forming region G31.41. Blue color represents the Spitzer image at at 3.6 micron, green at 8 micron, and red at 24 micron. The zoom-in region depicts the 870 micron dust emission obtained from the Submillimeter Array of the massive hot molecular core in G31.41 (color and contour image) superposed with bars outlining the direction of magnetic fields. Pictured in the bottom of the image is the SMA stop Mauna Kea, Hawaii. This study by Girart, Rao, Zhang, Beltran and Estalella (Science, 2009) demonstrates the importance of magnetic field during the collapse of massive molecular cloud core.

Jupiter Remnants of the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy still detected in Jupiter's upper atmosphere The lack of HCN at polar latitudes between 2000 and 2007 indicate a spatial stability which could be due to the presence of a polar vortex, separating the polar stratosphere from the mid-latitudes. In such a case, strong downward transport at the polar vortex edge and in the polar regions of Jupiter' high stratosphere is the main mechanism of the HCN, CS and CO mass loss.

NGC1097 Dense warm molecular gas ring in NGC1097 NGC1097 is a spectacular galaxy displaying very rich structures. With decreasing radius it shows spiral arms, outer bar, ring, inner bar and nuclear spiral. Panchromatic (ultraviolet, optical, infrared, radio) observational data of stars and gas help understand how gas, stars and various dynamical structures of this galaxy evolves with time.

NGC1333 Toroidal Magnetic Field Revealed in the Protostellar Disk of NGC1333 IRAS 4A We present the first map of the toroidal magnetic field structure in a disk around protostars. The magnetic field in the low-mass protostellar core NGC1333 IRAS4A (hereafter IRAS4A) have an hourglass morphology in the scale of few thousands AU (Girart et al. 2006, SMA data). Here we further explore the magnetic field structure within the central 1000 AU region of IRAS4A with the sub-arcsecond resolution dust polarization SMA data at 345 GHz. Our results reveal that except for the regions perpendicular to the center of IRAS4A1, the magnetic field appears to be parallel to the disk that contains the protostellar binary, IRAS4A1 and IRAS4A2, and perpendicular to the large scale hourglass structure.

Orion Nebula Massive Binary Protoplanetary Disks in the Orion Nebula The SMA image combines data taken in the compact and very extended configurations of the array in 2008 December and 2009 March. SMA contours begin at 3, where =2mJy is the rms noise level in the map, and each step represents a factor of 1.5 in intensity.

NGC 6334I Gone With The Wind Magnetic fields have been a mysterious player in cloud dynamics and star formation. Only recently, their importance at scales from 100 down to 0.1 pc has been confirmed by polarimetry surveys from single-dish telescopes, e.g. CSO and JCMT. At even smaller scales, the picture has just started to be revealed by SMA.

Orion Nebula First Confirmed Detection of a Bipolar Molecular Outflow from a Young Brown Dwarf The results indicate that the bipolar molecular outflow in brown dwarfs is very similar to outflows as seen in young stars but scaled down by 3 and 2 orders of magnitude for the outflow mass and the mass-loss rate, respectively. The discovery provides a new, strong evidence that brown dwarfs can form through turbulent/gravitational fragmentation like low-mass stars, in a version scaled down by a factor of over 100.

SMA A Well-defined Wide-angle Molecular Outflow from a High-mass Protostar SMA observations reveal a well defined wide-angle molecular outflow in a luminous (50,000 times the solar luminosity) star-forming region, G240.31+0.07.

The dusty disk (the hamburger's patty) contains molecular material, such as carbon monoxide, which can be detected by the SMA.

Image of Pluto Pluto-Charon System This is the first image ever obtained of the Pluto-Charon system that resolves the pair at a thermal wavelength; e.g. measuring just the heat of the individual bodies, not reflected solar energy, and was obtained in May 2005 using the Submillimeter Array, at 220 GHz.

M51 SMA CO(J=3-2) interferometric observations of the central region of M51 A seven field mosaic of the sprial galaxy M51 in the CO 2-1 line. The SMA observations reveal gas and dust in the spiral structure and regions of active star fomation.

Orion-KL Submm line imaging of Orion-KL with the Submillimeter Array The first SMA submm continuum sub-arcsecond resolution observations of the central region of Orion-KL.