Beyond the appearances : 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), of which Maryvonne Gerin and François Levrier (Laboratory of radio-astronomy of ENS physics departement, LERMA & CNRS) are part, obtained the most complete radioobservations of the Orion B cloud, famous for hosting the Horsehead and Flame nebulae.

Taking advantage of the fact that cold molecules shine at radio wavelengths and using machine learning methods adapted to this wealth of data, 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 seems to show the skeleton of a fighting Star Wars Jedi !

Read the press release
Read the press release