Featured Image: Revealing Hidden Objects with Color


Stunning color astronomical images can often be the motivation for astronomers to continue slogging through countless data files, calculations, and simulations as we seek to understand the mysteries of the universe. But sometimes the stunning images can, themselves, be the source of scientific discovery. This is the case with the below image of Lynds’ Dark Nebula 673, located in the Aquila constellation, that was captured with the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory by a team of scientists led by Travis Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage). After creating the image with a novel color-composite imaging method that reveals faint Hα emission (visible in red in both images here), Rector and collaborators identified the presence of a dozen new Herbig-Haro objects — small cloud patches that are caused when material is energetically flung out from newly born stars. The image adapted above shows three of the new objects, HH 1187–89, aligned with two previously known objects, HH 32 and 332 — suggesting they are driven by the same source. For more beautiful images and insight into the authors’ discoveries, check out the article linked below!

Lynds’ Dark Nebula 673

Full view of Lynds’ Dark Nebula 673. Click for the larger view this beautiful composite image deserves! [T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage) and H. Schweiker (WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF)]


T. A. Rector et al 2018 ApJ 852 13. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aa9ce1