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© 2002-2006 Russell
Croman unless otherwise noted.
A Star is Born
Note: This animation is optimized for
Internet Explorer. If this does not work properly on your browser,
here for the original animated-GIF version.
|On 23 January 2004, amateur astronomer Jay McNeil discovered a new nebula
in Orion, near the existing nebula, M78. Here is an animation of the
emergence and evolution of his find, constructed using images taken by a
number of amateur astronomers over a period of time, including many images
taken before Jay noticed the new nebula.
What we are witnessing here is apparently
the actual birth of a star. The young would-be star had been gathering material
for untold years, shrouded in a cocoon of dust and gas. Then, in a matter
of just a few months, it has burst into brilliance, lighting up the cloud
around it. This cloud is changing rapidly, and professional astronomers are
eagerly pursuing follow-up observations of this rare event.
Here are links to Jay's original discovery image and a follow-up image:
|See the BBC
News article on Jay's discovery!
|Animation source images...
The above animation was constructed with original images by the authors
named below each of the images. These were registered to each other,
All images are copyright their original authors. The use of their
work here is gratefully acknowledged.
Note also that these images were taken with widely varying equipment and
filters. So while the above animation gives a good overall sense of the object's development,
things such as absolute accuracy of brightness levels, for example, are not
represented with any precision.