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Hole at the Heart of the Rosette Nebula's Atomic Cloud --"Puzzled Astronomers for Decades"

13 Feb 2018, 15:46 UTC
Hole at the Heart of the Rosette Nebula's Atomic Cloud --"Puzzled Astronomers for Decades"
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

A hole at the heart of a stunning rose-like interstellar cloud has puzzled astronomers for decades. But new research, led by the University of Leeds, offers an explanation for the discrepancy between the size and age of the Rosetta Nebula's central cavity and that of its central stars.
The Rosette Nebula is located in the Milky Way Galaxy roughly 5,000 light-years from Earth and is known for its rose-like shape and distinctive hole at its center. The nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases with several massive stars found in a cluster at its heart.

Stellar winds and ionising radiation from these massive stars affect the shape of the giant molecular cloud. But the size and age of the cavity observed in the centre of Rosette Nebula is too small when compared to the age of its central stars.
Through computer simulations, astronomers at Leeds and at Keele University have found the formation of the Nebula is likely to be in a thin sheet-like molecular cloud rather than in a spherical or thick disc-like shape, as some photographs may suggest. A thin disc-like structure of the cloud focusing the stellar winds away ...

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