Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chandra Sheds New Light On McNeil's Nebula

Date:
July 29, 2004
Source:
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Summary:
The X-ray/optical comparison of the region surrounding McNeil's Nebula shows that the position of a source detected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is coincident with that of a bright infrared and optical source at the apex of the nebula.

Chandra X-ray Observatory Image of X-ray outburst from young star in McNeil's Nebula.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center

The X-ray/optical comparison of the region surrounding McNeil's Nebula shows that the position of a source detected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is coincident with that of a bright infrared and optical source at the apex of the nebula. Source 3 is thought to be a very young star and is illuminating the fan-shaped cloud of gas, or nebula. The others sources in the field, labeled 1, 2, and 4, are other young, X-ray emitting stars in the region.

Related Articles


The small nebula, which lies in the constellation Orion about 1300 light years from Earth, was discovered with a 3-inch telescope by amateur astronomer Jay McNeil in January 2004. A young star buried deep in a cloud had brightened suddenly, illuminating the nebula. The coincident X-ray source was also observed to brighten fifty-fold as measured in Chandra observations obtained before and just after the optical outburst. The X-ray data are strong evidence that the probable cause of the outburst is the sudden infall of matter onto the surface of the star from an orbiting disk of gas.

The coupling of the magnetic field of the star and the magnetic field of its circumstellar disk regulates the inflow of gas from the disk onto the star. This slow, steady inflow suddenly can become much more rapid if a large amount of gas accumulates in the disk, and the disk and the star are rotating at different rates.

The differing rotation rates can twist and shear the magnetic field, storing up energy. This energy is eventually released in an energetic, X-ray producing outburst as the magnetic field violently rearranges back to a more stable state. During this period, a large amount of gas can fall onto the star, producing the observed optical and infrared outburst.

A new buildup of gas in the disk could lead to a new outburst in the future. Such a scenario may explain why the brightness of McNeil's Nebula appears to vary with time. It appears in optical images taken of this region of Orion in the 1960s, but is absent from images taken in the 1950s and 1990s.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA. (NASA/CXC/RIT/J. Kastner et al.)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. "Chandra Sheds New Light On McNeil's Nebula." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040729094140.htm>.
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. (2004, July 29). Chandra Sheds New Light On McNeil's Nebula. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040729094140.htm
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. "Chandra Sheds New Light On McNeil's Nebula." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040729094140.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

Raw: Antares Liftoff Explosion

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Observers near Wallops Island recorded what they thought would be a routine rocket launch Tuesday night. What they recorded was a major rocket explosion shortly after lift off. (Oct 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

Raw: Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Just hours after an American cargo run to the International Space Station ended in flames, a Russian supply ship has arrived at the station with a load of fresh supplies. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Journalist Captures Moment of Antares Rocket Explosion

Journalist Captures Moment of Antares Rocket Explosion

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 29, 2014) A space education journalist is among those who witness and record the explosion of an unmanned Antares rocket seconds after its launch. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rocket Explosion Under Investigation

Rocket Explosion Under Investigation

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) NASA and Orbital Sciences officials say they are investigating the explosion of an unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station. It blew up moments after liftoff Tuesday evening over the launch site in Virginia. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins