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Home Science This Epic Space Cloud Is Nicely Summing Up Our Farewell to 2020

This Epic Space Cloud Is Nicely Summing Up Our Farewell to 2020


#Sometimes, the #Universe provides just the perfect method for expressing our feelings.

A space cloud 7,500 light-years away has given us the most appropriate farewell we can think of for this whole dumpster fire of a year, 2020.

#This small clump of material is part of a much larger cloud complex called the #Carina #Nebula, and under normal circumstances would not be given a nickname of its own. #But its distinctive shape has led scientists to nickname it the #Defiant #Finger.

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#And that’s exactly what it looks like – the age-old obscene gesture of “go do ghastly things to yourself”, and “go away, but in much ruder words”.

(NASA, ESA, N. #Smith/UC #Berkeley, and The #Hubble #Heritage #Team/STScI/AURA)

#Actually, the #Defiant #Finger is what is known as a #Bok #Globule. These are small, dark, dense knots of dust and gas that are often the birthplaces of stars. #As denser regions of the cloud condense further, they can collapse down under their own gravity, and start spinning into a star.

The #Defiant #Finger, comprising 6 solar masses worth of material, may have stars forming within it; because it’s so dense, it’s hard to see inside. The glow it appears to have is from external sources – the light of bright stars nearby.

finger location(NASA, ESA, N. #Smith/UC #Berkeley, and The #Hubble #Heritage #Team/STScI/AURA)

#Because young stars are typically bright and hot, they blast their surroundings with radiation. The exterior of the #Defiant #Finger globule is likely being lit and ionised by either the #Wolf-Rayet star WR 25, a very short-lived, massive star at the end of its lifespan; #Tr16-244, a hot young supergiant; or a combination of both.

#But while they illuminate, these stars also destroy: slowly but surely, they are evaporating the #Defiant #Finger. #At the current estimated rate of mass loss, the cloud of dust has a projected lifespan of just 200,000 to 1 million years.

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#That’s not very long in cosmic terms, not very long at all. #But it’s long enough to make a poetic statement: a scream into the void, a defiant gesture in the face of inevitability. #And a really appropriate way to close the door on 2020.

#Thanks, space. #And bring on 2021.



[ source link ]
https://www.sciencealert.com/this-epic-space-cloud-is-nicely-summing-up-our-farewell-to-2020

##Epic ##Space ##Cloud ##Nicely ##Summing ##Farewell

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