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The glowing nebula – RCW 34


When the hot hydrogen reaches the edge of the cloud of gas, it rushes out into the void, like a bottle of sparkling wine when it is uncorked. The ionized hydrogen has an important role in astronomy because it shows the star-forming regions.
In the most brilliant of this glowing nebula known as RCW 34, the gas is heated by young hot stars and expands so decided through areas of colder gas surrounding it. When the hot hydrogen reaches the edge of the cloud of gas rushes out into the void, like a bottle of champagne is uncorked when the process is called the champagne flow. In addition to a little ‘of bubbles, a star-forming region RCW 34 has other gifts: multiple episodes of star formation within the same cloud. RCW 34 is also known by the name of Gum 19 and is centered on the brilliant young star known as V391 Velorum.

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Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

This new image was taken by the FORS instrument (Focal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph) installed on the VLT (Very Large Telescope) ESO VLT in Cilesul, acquired within the project ESO Cosmic Gems. Within RCW 34 – in the southern constellation of Vela – a group of young, massive stars is hidden in the most brilliant of the nebula. These stars have a dramatic effect on the nebula. The gas exposed to strong ultraviolet radiation – as happens in the heart of this nebula – is ionized, i.e. the electrons are detached from the atom of hydrogen.
Hydrogen is a true treasure for photographers of the cosmos, shines as a characteristic reddish color typical of many nebulae and allows you to create beautiful images of bizarre shapes. It is also the material that allows you to build strange phenomena as this flow champagne. But the ionized hydrogen has another important role in astronomy: identifying regions of star formation. Stars are born in clouds of gas that are collapsing and therefore are found in abundance in the regions that contain copious amounts of gas, as RCW 34. This makes the nebula is particularly interesting to astronomers studying the birth and evolution of stars.
Large amounts of dust within the nebula block the view of the internal processes of this stellar incubator, deeply hidden in the clouds. RCW34 is characterized by extinction very high, that is, almost all visible light of this region is absorbed before reaching the Earth. Despite being hidden from direct view, astronomers can use infrared telescopes to peer through the dust and study the nest of these new stars.

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Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2

Looking beyond the color red can be seen that there are lots of young stars in this region, with masses of a fraction of that of the sun. It seems that they are massed near the oldest and most massive stars in the center, while a few are seen to the suburbs. This distribution has led astronomers to believe that there have been successive episodes of star formation within the cloud. Three giant stars were formed in the first event and subsequently gave rise to the formation of less massive stars nearby. The bright stars more massive short-lived – measured in millions of years – but the less massive can live longer of the age of the Universe.

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