The anatomy of the Orion Jedi revealed by radio-astronomy

Using the IRAM 30-meter radio-telescope in the Sierra Nevada of Spain, an international team of astronomers led by Jérôme Pety (IRAM & Observatoire de Paris), and including Pierre Gratier (LAB), has obtained the most comprehensive radio-survey of the Orion B star-forming region, famous for hosting the iconic Horsehead and Flame nebulae. Taking advantage of the fact that cold molecules shine at radio millimeter wavelengths, the team revealed the hidden anatomy of the Orion B cloud. Through a careful dissection of the cloud into regions of different molecular composition, they shed new light on how the darkest and coldest inner parts give birth to new stars. Following mankind’s tradition of associating characters with features on the sky, the radio astronomy view of Orion B seems to show the skeleton of a fighting Star Wars Jedi! The scientific articles will be published in Astronomy & Astrophysics on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

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