Feb 20, 2013
Picture of the month
This extraordinary image taken by the Gemini South 8.2-m telescope depicts hot bullets of gas tracing their way through the Orion Nebula (CERN Courier March 2011 p10). The Orion Bullets have been ejected from the Trapezium cluster of bright, young stars at the heart of the star-forming region. In this false-colour infrared view, the blue bullets are clumps of hot gas (around 5000 K) with a size of about 10 times Pluto’s orbit. Travelling with a speed of about 400 km/s they leave behind the orange cone-shaped wakes of shock-heated gas. The unprecedented image resolution (around 0.1 arcsec) illustrates the power of the new GeMS adaptive optics system. Five lasers are used to create artificial guide-stars to measure and correct atmospheric turbulence in real time (CERN Courier November 2012 p15). Image credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA.
About the author
Compiled by Marc Türler, INTEGRAL Science Data Centre and Observatory of the University of Geneva.