Ghostly Reflections in the Pleiades

This image shows a dark interstellar cloud ravaged by the passage of Merope, one of the brightest stars in the Pleiades star cluster. Just as a torch beam bounces off the wall of a cave, the star is reflecting light from the surface of pitch-black clouds of cold gas laced with dust. As the nebula approaches Merope, the strong starlight shining on the dust decelerates the dust particles. The nebula is drifting through the cluster at a relative speed of roughly 11 kilometres per second.

The Hubble Space Telescope has caught the eerie, wispy tendrils of a dark interstellar cloud being destroyed by the passage of one of the brightest stars in the Pleiades star cluster. Like a flashlight beam shining off the wall of a cave, the star is reflecting light off the surface of pitch black clouds of cold gas laced with dust. These are called reflection nebulae.

Credit:

NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA), George Herbig and Theodore Simon (University of Hawaii).

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo0036a
Type:Observation
Release date:6 December 2000, 07:00
Size:645 x 724 px

About the Object

Name:Barnard's Merope Nebula, Pleiades
Type:• Milky Way : Star : Grouping : Cluster
• Milky Way : Nebula : Appearance : Dark
• X - Nebulae Images/Videos
Distance:450 light years

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
B
439 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Optical
V
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFPC2

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143.5 KB
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215.5 KB

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311.3 KB
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398.6 KB
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