Hubble Witnesses Shock Wave of Colliding Gases in Running Man Nebula


Mounded, luminous clouds of gas and dust glow in this Hubble image of a Herbig-Haro object known as HH 45. Herbig-Haro objects are a rarely seen type of nebula that occurs when hot gas ejected by a newborn star collides with the gas and dust around it at hundreds of miles per second, creating bright shock waves. In this image, blue indicates ionized oxygen (O II) and purple shows ionized magnesium (Mg II). Researchers were particularly interested in these elements because they can be used to identify shocks and ionization fronts.

This object is located in the nebula NGC 1977, which itself is part of a complex of three nebulae called The Running Man. NGC 1977 –  like its companions NGC 1975 and NGC 1973 – is a reflection nebula, which means that it doesn’t emit light on its own, but reflects light from nearby stars, like a streetlight illuminating fog.

Hubble observed this region to look for stellar jets and planet-forming disks around young stars, and examine how their environment affects the evolution of such disks.

Hubble imaged a small section of the Running Man Nebula, which lies close to the famed Orion Nebula and is a favorite target for amateur astronomers to observe and photograph.Credits: NASA, ESA, J. Bally (University of Colorado at Boulder), and DSS; Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America) 

Main Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Bally (University of Colorado at Boulder); Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

Media Contact:
Claire Andreoli
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
301-286-1940Last Updated: Nov 24, 2021Editor: Andrea Gianopoulos

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November 25, 2021 2:31 am

This object is located in the nebula NGC 1977, which itself is part of a complex of three nebulae called The Running Man.”

The Running Man? They’re naming nebulae after Stephen King novels?

Oy vey,

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
November 25, 2021 3:01 am

Indeed they named the nebula after Joe Biden.
Whenever he is being asked the wrong questions by the wrong journalists during his “press conferences’.

Last edited 8 days ago by SxyxS
Reply to  Bryan A
November 25, 2021 3:35 pm

DARN! I was going to say it looks like the “flying lady” hood ornament from a Rolls-Royce…

Bryan A
Reply to  Kpar
November 25, 2021 5:16 pm

The Flying Lady decorated the hoods of a number of different car models in the 20s and 30s
And some commercials…

Very Art Deco

Last edited 7 days ago by Bryan A
Lars P
Reply to  Bryan A
November 26, 2021 2:11 am

You know the link works if you cut all the garbage after the question mark…

Reply to  Lars P
November 26, 2021 4:34 pm

Good to know.

Reply to  Bob Tisdale
November 25, 2021 12:09 pm

Here is a photo I took of the Orion nebula. Look at the smaller, blue nebula to the left.

See if you can guess why it is called the “Running Man” nebula.

November 25, 2021 2:34 am

Interesting, but I would like to see an estimate of the diameter size of the lead curvature (any of the astronomical units would do).

Last edited 8 days ago by Vuk
November 25, 2021 3:06 am

The beauty that is chaos in motion.

Joseph Zorzin
November 25, 2021 3:57 am

Interesting to see an item on astronomy, a favorite topic of mine. I always look forward to Astronomy Magazine. But, if astronomy can be mentioned here, why not the UFO topic? For me, that’s a topic far more important and exciting than the crazy climate debate.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 25, 2021 5:57 am

why not the UFO topic?”

That would open up a whole can of worms in these ‘woke’ times. For example, “Why do only white people get abducted by aliens?

The cosmos is structurally racist.

Reply to  fretslider
November 25, 2021 8:40 am

One of the most celebrated cases of alien abduction was a mixed race couple.
Your data is selective.

Reply to  fretslider
November 25, 2021 9:25 am

Well, there is the famous case of Barney and Betty Hill whose abduction occurred in a rural portion of the state of New Hampshire from September 19 to 20, 1961. They were an interracial couple.

Reply to  RicDre
November 25, 2021 3:37 pm

Beat me to it.

Reply to  RicDre
November 26, 2021 7:34 am

Were those aliens wearing white conical hoods, to hide their coneheads?

Reply to  mcswell
November 26, 2021 4:35 pm

From the planet Remulac, oops, actually a “small town in France”?

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 25, 2021 7:35 am

A UFO topic on any website that is guilty of wrongthink,be it climate,vaccines,NWO etc,
would be suicide.

BTW though i do believe that life exists somewhere else in space
I absolutely can not imagine that supersmart beings that solved the problems of space travel ( which imo can not be solved as the spaceships would collide with objects)
would be so stupid to leave families and friends for many years behind and waste precious lifetime just to watch some hairless apes.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  SxyxS
November 25, 2021 7:58 am

If life exists somewhere besides Earth, then it probably exists everywhere in the universe where the environment is favorable.

The study of Mars should tell us a lot. It had conditions favorable to our kind of life at times in its past. Assuming life on Earth was not just transplanted from Mars, or vice versa, via an asteriod strike.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 25, 2021 9:05 am

There are two questions. The first is how likely is it that life gets started.
The second is what are the chances of life moving beyond single celled into multi-cellular, and from their developing intelligence.

Life appears to have gotten started within a few hundred million years of the earth’s formation. However it wasn’t until about 250 million years ago that complex life appears to have started. That’s a period of nearly 4 billion years.

Reply to  MarkW
November 25, 2021 2:41 pm

1st Answer:
The chances for life to exist are imo beyond impossible,
as even the most simple life structure is so supercomplex that it can not happen.
Imagine winning 100* in a row in 5 out of 50 Lotto.
But in this case you have more than 100 elements to chose from.
And only getting 3 atoms in a row right out of 100 happens only once in a million tries.
But getting several hundreds atoms right is impossible.
And this is the easiest part.
The reason we still exist against all odds makes me think that life is a universal principal.

2nd answer )IMO You are asking the wrong question.
(High)Intelligence is mandatory from the very beginning and not beyond single cell.

As soon you have the first form of life you need superhigh analytical intelligence and awareness, otherwise it’s useless even when a lifeform appear quadrillions of times.
The very first form of life is already supermegacomplex from an atomic point of view and is a dead end road without awareness and intelligence as this lifeform may come into existence and disappear and will never be seen again.
The only way it does not happen is a supersmart code that must be created alongside the first life.

This code must be aware of many things.
a ) of what life is and the concept of end/death that this life must reproduce itself to exist

b)it must be aware of the concept of time to know how long it lives and how much time is left to reproduce before the very first system dies

c)this code must know all atoms and it’s 3 dimensional structure to be able to reproduce it.

d) the code must also have some kind of data exchange with the existing atoms to tell them when and how to reproduce and when the reproduction is finished.

e) the code muast be aware of it’s evironmental atomic surroundings to tell the structure when and how to absorb the necessary atoms and how to put them in the right order and how to avoid mistakes.

Maybe im overthinking this,but imo it’s even much more complicated

Reply to  SxyxS
November 25, 2021 3:43 pm

Your first answer is off by many orders of magnitude- it’s even worse for the “materialist” view of life’s beginnings.

I’ve been watching and reading the Discovery Institute.

Compelling stuff, and the materialists have largely given up trying to refute Axe, Behe, Meyer, et. al.

Instead, they just ignore the elephant in the room.

Good on ya.

Reply to  Kpar
November 26, 2021 11:56 am

Nope – the probability of life outside of earth is 100%. The probability of life not developing elsewhere is 0%.

For life to exist, it only requires that the most common molecule in the universe – water – exist in liquid state in a rocky planet, deeded by yet another of the most common elements in the universe – carbon.

That you label common scientific non-ignorance only reveals your own utter ignorance of science.

Reply to  SxyxS
November 26, 2021 11:49 am

If it was so impossibly complicated we would not be here. We exist therefore it is not only possible but plausible.

Virtually all stars have planets. It only requires a star with at least one rocky planet in the “habitable zone” of orbits, with an atmosphere and having liquid water, to host life. Once life exists at all it WILL evolve to more and more complex forms – it is inevitable.

In our galaxy – the “Milky Way” – there are over 400 billion stars, nearly all of which have planets. The probability that some reasonable percentage of those planets has liquid water is 100%. That is just our galaxy.

Water – made of hydrogen and helium – is the most common molecule in the universe. It is literally everywhere, available in liquid state whenever the appropriate temperatures and atmospheric pressures exist.

The universe contains trillions of galaxies.

Get your mind around that.

Reply to  Duane
November 26, 2021 12:40 pm

We exist,therefore i believe that life is integral part of the universe otherwise we would not exist – That was my point.
Wether you call this a conscious,a coincidence that made the laws of the universe that way or a god is up to you.

But lets break down the more simple stuff you are throwing here around.
The estimated number of galaxies is 100-200 billion you not many trillions.

2nd: dude , water is made of hydrogen and oxygen = H20 and not of hydrogen and helium.
What does this mean?Oxygen is much more rare than helium as its creation needs several times more fusions than helium does.
If water was the most
common molecule in the universe ( It’s H2 Sherlock)
than most planets and their atmospher would be full of water
how many of all planets that are currently known do have atmospheric water vapor?
A handful according to nat geo sept 2019

Reply to  SxyxS
November 26, 2021 4:46 pm

A good question for our atheist friends:

Can the universe be “self aware”? If so, how would that be any different from “God”?

Of course, the real answer to that question is: Define self awareness.

Reply to  Kpar
November 27, 2021 8:20 am

Can the universe be self aware? Who knows.

What would be the required criteria for proof? Without defining how to prove or disprove it, it’s meaningless. Same as all the multiverse theories.

Reply to  Duane
November 26, 2021 4:43 pm

Duane, I have an excellent book for you to read: “Rare Earth”, by Ward and Brownlee. Look at their modern (that is. more realistic) take on the old Drake Equation. Instead of a dozen variables, they have identified about 200 needed for complex life to form. Their calculations show that the odds are one or two “civilizations” per galaxy.

And the Discovery Institute in Seattle has some serious calculations about the “spontaneous” rising of life- the cosmos hasn’t been around long enough for life to occur accidentally.

Good reading, and food for thought.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 26, 2021 6:02 pm

Interesting second paragraph. I personally entertain the possibility Mars was closer to the Sun than Earth, perhaps a billion years ago and perhaps at a similar distance from the sun as earth is presently, and that some form of life developed. Then, as gravitational forces between the Sun and planets and among the planets adjusted to give us their present balance, Mars achieved a greater distance from the Sun and slower rate of rotation than Earth, and life receded or disappeared from what may have existed to what exists now, if at all.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 25, 2021 7:49 am

The Department of Defense has opened up a new investigagion of unidentified flying objects, it was announced a couple of days ago.

Some people say it was because of pressure from New York U.S. Senator Gillibrand, who wants a much bigger investigation.

Last edited 8 days ago by Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 25, 2021 3:41 pm

Distraction from scandals and economy. Nothing more.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 25, 2021 3:45 pm

Really? I paid attention to the release of the DoD report on UFOs (UAP?) a month or so ago, and, like I expected, there was nothing new.

Prepare to be disappointed (again).

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Kpar
November 26, 2021 8:53 am

Probably. If they found anything interesting, they probably wouldn’t make it public.

I’m waiting for it to get past the “fuzzy picture” stage. We need some good, sharp photos of those UFOs. I want to see an alien walking off of one.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 26, 2021 4:47 pm

I would like to see some physical material that we cannot make with our current technology.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 26, 2021 6:38 am

Sheesh- I mention UFO and get, so far, a minus 9 score. I should think that climate skeptics would mostly appreciate that the US government has lied about UFOs for a long time. Perhaps many of you are not paying attention- this is a situation far more significant than the climate:

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 26, 2021 7:37 am

Please, this climate website already has a reputation. IMO it is not helped by discussions of truly out-there stuff, like UFOs and anti-vax sentiments. There are plenty of places where those discussions are common (for UFOs, a mostly unbiased site with occasional UFO posts is Slashdot, Keep this site about climate, please.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  mcswell
November 26, 2021 8:59 am

“Please, this climate website already has a reputation.”

Really? What would that be? Who has this opinion?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  mcswell
November 26, 2021 9:12 am

Uh… so it’s all about climate and nothing else? Somebody should have told the editors who posted “DART Mission Launched to Test “Armageddon” Asteroid Deflection Capability” and “Hubble Witnesses Shock Wave of Colliding Gases in Running Man Nebula” and “$40 Million Government Scientist Referred to Queensland Corruption Commission”. As for “truly out-there stuff” you are obviously way out of touch with the Pentagon admitting UFOs exist, only they don’t know what they are. This topic is getting a lot of attention, at least here in America. So, keep this site about climate? Then tell those editors who posted astronomy topics and the corrupt medical researcher.

Peta of Newark
November 25, 2021 5:56 am

Oh look, there’s a squirrel!
iow: Bad News for climate science down here on Earth needs burying

November 25, 2021 6:01 am

Always remember these are plasma events and objects. Herbig-Haro objects have collimated plasma jets extending from them.

Gases… no, ionized plasma with electromagnetic properties.

Unstated in the article, but all the objects & phenomenon are magnetized.

Quote from the article: “In this image, blue indicates ionized oxygen (O II) and purple shows ionized magnesium (Mg II).”

In other words: electromagnetic plasma. The forth state of matter.

Harry Passfield
November 25, 2021 6:45 am

I continue to live – for a bit longer, I hope – in awe at the beauty and immensity of the images that Hubble brings to us.

For the sake of Green sanity I’m also pleased to note that O II and Mg II were seen and not CO2.

Andy Pattullo
November 25, 2021 7:17 am

Greta Thunderpants thought bubble: “We must cease all CO2 emissions immediately before this nebulae thing gets out of hand.”

Tom Abbott
November 25, 2021 8:17 am

I hope NASA is working on a rescue plan for the Hubble telescope. It continues to have glitches, and it needs some repairs. Happily, Hubble was designed so that equipment could be replaced, and Elon Musk has the ability to reach Hubble’s orbit with his crew capsule.

We are getting ready to put a bigger telescope in orbit shortly, but we don’t want to lose the Hubble telescope. Let’s plan on using it for another 20 years.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 25, 2021 3:50 pm

I have heard that the Hubble is at the end of its life, fuel is low, components have worn out, and we no longer have the capability to service it (SpaceX is doing a great job, but they’ve been working on a different project).

Looking forward very much to the Webb Space Telescope, and earth-bound adaptive optics scopes are now rivaling the performance of the Hubble.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Kpar
November 26, 2021 9:19 am

“I have heard that the Hubble is at the end of its life, fuel is low”

SpaceX will soon be launching a private company’s “fuel depot” into orbit. This is essentially a flying gasoline station for satellites in orbit. It is supposed to be able to refuel satelites in orbit, including in geosynchornous orbit (GEO) where all the tv satellites reside.

I don’t know if it has the setup to refuel Hubble, but it can certainly reach its orbit. And if they really needed to refuel Hubble, perhaps they can configure a way to do so, since they have managed this with other satellites that were not initially designed to be refueled in orbit.

For that matter, the refueling depot has an extended range, so it should be configured so it can grab hold of the Hubble Telescope and then bring it down to the orbit of the International Space Station, and after Hubble is repaired, it can take Hubble back to its previous orbit.

Last edited 7 days ago by Tom Abbott
Reply to  Kpar
November 26, 2021 1:11 pm

I’ve been hearing that about Hubble for awhile now, but it always seems to keep going. I’m sure it will become useless at some point, but so far it’s doing ok.

Reply to  TonyG
November 26, 2021 4:51 pm

True, they have been wonderfully adaptive and creative with what they had to work, but there are limits. And we are reaching those limits, as NASA will admit.

Still working, but it is time for a new ‘scope.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 25, 2021 4:06 pm

Dave Akin, Director of the University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory, demonstrated decades ago the capability of robotically servicing the Hubble. That is, he was able to demonstrate robotics on the ground which performed all of the Hubble servicing tasks that astronauts were capable of performing. But when Mike Griffin became NASA Administrator, he put the kibosh on any such efforts. He insisted that astronauts must be used to service Hubble, probably because it justified the continued use of the Space Shuttle.

Today, the big problem is how to safely get Hubble out of orbit.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
November 26, 2021 9:05 am

The Hubble repair mission would have been a failure if not for an astronaut breaking loose a stuck fitting by force.

I don’t know if a robot would be capable of what the astronaut did on an ad lib basis, since the problem was not foreseen before the repair took place.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 26, 2021 4:52 pm

EXCELLENT point, Tom.

Good on ya.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 26, 2021 7:42 am

SpaceX capsules can certainly get to Hubble’s orbit, but they don’t have the capability of getting fully suited astronauts in and out of the capsule. No airlock, but worse, the hatch is too small. I guess an airlock could be launched attached to the back of the capsule and with the suits inside, and then the capsule could do the sort of maneuver the Apollo did when it extracted the LEM from the service module and re-attached it to the nose of the capsule. But that’s a lot of engineering and flight/man-rating, and afaik no one is working on it now.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  mcswell
November 26, 2021 9:11 am

I suppose Musk could always build a specialized crew capsule or two which could be conbined once in orbit, or figure out a way to transport the Hubble telescope down to the International space station where it could be worked on there.

What this highlights is the need for an orbital transfer vehicle. This is an essential part of any future space development program and we should get to developing it right now.

And it would sure come in handy if something bad but fixable were to happen to the Webb telescope.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 26, 2021 4:53 pm

The “orbital transfer vehicle” may or may not be “in the works”, but it is an inevitable need.

November 25, 2021 8:47 am

There must be something we can do about this!! There must be something the UN can try to tax.

John in Oz
November 25, 2021 3:15 pm

Soon to be renamed to the “Running gender fluid nebula”

Reply to  John in Oz
November 25, 2021 3:28 pm

More likely removed from the sky. Take a close look at the “man” in the photo I added (above) – that guy looks to me as if he has a GUN in his left hand!!

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