Press Release

Orion KL Region

January 28, 1999

Low Res. (106 KB)
High Res. (1.8 MB)

Object Name: Orion KL Region
Telescope: Subaru Telescope / Cassegrain Focus
Instrument: CISCO
Filter: H 2 -line (2.12 micron), N204 (2.04 micron)
Color: Grayscale (Reddish)
Date: UT 1999 Jan 14
Exposure: 30 sec
Field of View: 2 arcmin by 2 arcmin
Orientation: North up, east left

This is an enlarged image of the region around the Kleinman-Low nebula in the Orion cloud located 1500 light years away. This image is taken in light at 2.12 micron, which is emitted by warm molecular hydrogen gas with an absolute temperature of 2000 K. This is Subaru's first image in the light of a single emission line, demonstrating its high resolution capability. Although not seen in this image, at the center of the giant butterfly-like feature is IRc2, a star 30 times more massive than the sun which is in the process of forming. A strong wind with a speed of more than 100 kilometers per second is blowing out from IRc2, evacuating the butterfly-like cavity and allowing infrared light to escape. Many finger-like features are seen radially emanating from the Orion KL region, produced when the strong stellar wind from IRc2 collides with the surrounding cold material, heating it to around 2000 K and causing the hydrogen molecules to emit light. The vertical and horizontal stripes and moire patterns are artifacts of the initial data processing. Two separate images were combined to produce this image, and the black and white dots are a result of this process.



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