Feeds

Mighty multi-scope snaps stunning STARBIRTH image

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

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.