Feeds

Mighty multi-scope snaps stunning STARBIRTH image

66 antennas up to 16km apart capture celestial violence 1400 years ago

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Astronomers using the immense and astonishingly perceptive Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have captured a stunning image of the miracle of birth – starbirth, that is.

Herbig-Haro 46/44 as imaged by ALMA

Herbig-Haro 46/44 as imaged by ALMA (click to enlarge)

Starbirth – a violent affair – results in the stellar babe ejecting materials at exceptionally high velocities of as much as one million kilometers per hour. In the case of the object viewed by Héctor Arce of Yale University and his international team, the birth is taking place about 1,400 light years away in the southern constellation of Vela.

When the ejecta smash into the starbirth's surrounding gas, it glows, creating what's known as a Herbig-Haro object. Arce's study of this particular object, HH 46/44, revealed two jets of materials, one aimed at Earth and another aimed away.

The team's observations were carried out by ALMA from December 28, 2011 to January 25, 2012, while the telescope was still under construction (it went fully online in March of this year), but the intensive data analysis and imaging was not completed until recently. The image of HH 46/44 was published along with a press release from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) on Tuesday, and the findings are described in a paper to be published in the Astrophysical Journal snappingly entitled "ALMA Observations of the HH 46/47 Molecular Outflow".

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) by night, under the Magellanic Clouds

ALMA by night, under the Magellanic Clouds (click to enlarge)

The 66 radio telescopes that comprise ALMA are located at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Chilean Andes, perched at 16,500 feet in the ridiculously arid Atacama Desert. How arid is ridiculously arid? Well, there are some stretches of the desert where not even a single drop of rain has ever been recorded. This aridity is key not only to precise visible-light observations, since water vapor distorts imaging, but also to ALMA's submillimeter operation, seeing as how water vapor absorbs and attenuates such radiation.

ALMA produced its first images – of the collision of two galaxies – in October 2011. Now that it is fully operational, expect to be gifted with more images as mind-boggling as the one above – as well as some ground-breaking science, of course – in years to come. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.