Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2003 January 27
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

BHR 71: Stars, Clouds, and Jets
Credit & Copyright: J. Alves (ESO), E. Tolstoy (Groningen), R. Fosbury (ST-ECF), & R. Hook (ST-ECF), VLT

Explanation: What is happening to molecular cloud BHR 71? Quite possible, a binary star system is forming inside. Most stars in our Galaxy are part of binary star systems, but few have ever been seen in formation. Recent observations of dust-darkened Bok Globule BHR 71, however, show evidence for two young stars forming deep in the cloud, likely close enough to form a binary. Isolated BHR 71 spans about one light year and lies only about 600 light years away in the southern sky. The brighter embedded star -- not visible here -- is about 10 times as bright as the Sun and drives the jet that swept out the empty lane. The above four-color image was taken with a Very Large Telescope in Chile.

Tomorrow's picture: Hidden Lake

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& NASA SEU Edu. Forum
& Michigan Tech. U.