Star-Forming Chamaeleon is Captured by Hubble Space Telescope

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The Hubble Space Telescope view of Chamaeleon Cloud I, a part of the Chamaeleon Cloud Complex, shows dusty-dark clouds where stars are forming, dazzling reflection nebulae illuminated by the light of newborn bright-blue stars, and radiant knots known as Herbig-Haro objects.

Chamaeleon Cloud Complex

NASA, ESA, K. Luhman and T. Esplin (Pennsylvania State University), et al., and ESO; Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America) processed the images.

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope picture depicts one of three parts that make up the Chamaeleon Cloud Complex, a 65-light-year-wide star-forming area.

The Chamaeleon Cloud I (Cha I) section in this Hubble composite view exhibits dusty-dark clouds where stars are developing, dazzling reflection nebulae illuminated by the light of bright-blue newborn stars, and radiant knots known as Herbig-Haro objects.

Herbig-Haro objects are luminous clusters and arcs of interstellar gas that have been shocked and electrified by jets ejected by newborn “protostars” in the process of formation.

At the bottom of the photograph, a white-orange cloud contains one of these protostars.

The Herbig-Haro object HH 909A is formed when bright white jets of hot gas are released in narrow torrents from the protostar’s poles.

Light waves from a highly bright point source, like a star, bend around Hubble’s cross-shaped struts that support the telescope’s secondary mirror, resulting in the cross-like spikes seen in the picture.

As light waves flow through these struts, they combine on the opposite side to form the dazzling; we observe a spikey starburst appearance.

Hubble Investigated Cha I as part of a Quest for Very faint, Low-mass Brown Qwarfs

These “failed stars” are between the size of a massive planet and a tiny star – 10 to 90 times the mass of Jupiter- and lack the mass to initiate and maintain nuclear fusion in their cores.

The Hubble Space Telescope’s search yielded six new low-mass brown dwarf candidates, which assist scientists in better understanding these objects.

This 315-million-pixel composite picture was created by combining 23 observations from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Images from the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 were used to fill in the gaps between those observations.

Any remaining gaps were filled with data from ESO’s VISTA VIRCAM on the ground.

Visit Hubble Captures Chamaeleon Cloud I to download the complete high-resolution version of this picture.