(ORDO NEWS) — The Orion Veil – a shell of dust and gas located behind a massive cluster of stars in the Orion Nebula – may be collapsing, according to the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
The Orion Nebula contains a massive group of stars called the Trapezium stars. The Veil of Orion is formed by the winds blowing from the stars of the Trapezium. Most of the gas in the Orion Nebula is near its wall, where it is rarefied.
Recent observations with the German SOFIA receiver for terahertz astronomy (GREAT) have revealed some unexpected features of Orion’s veil. Its thickness is about one light year, and it is expanding towards us.
“The bubble – about seven light-years in diameter – should be almost a sphere-like structure, but we found a bulge in its northwestern part,” explained Umit Kawak, SOFIA postdoctoral researcher at NASA‘s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, lead author of the recent paper. in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics describing the research.
This ledge emits ionized carbon, according to SOFIA’s observations, which Kavak used to determine its size, structure, and growth rate to gain insight into its origin and future.
The ledge extends far beyond Orion’s veil, resembling a “U” lying on its side. Given that the top of the ledge is similar to a chimney, it is likely that the shell has already penetrated there.
“When you pierce the Veil shell, you actually start stirring up the cosmic soup of gas and dust, adding turbulence,” Kavac said.
“It’s not the most appetizing soup, but it’s one way to form new stars or limit future star formation,” added Alexander Tilens, a researcher at Leiden University and co-author of the paper.
“Turbulence, in turn, can affect the density, temperature and chemical composition of the surrounding region, which in turn affects star formation.”
They also discovered a second ledge, which will be studied in a future work. They have a profound effect on the overall morphology of the Orion Nebula as a whole.
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