Embargoed Until: 1:00 a.m. (EDT) August 24, 2000

Hubble Spies Brown Dwarfs in Nearby Stellar Nursery

Probing deep within a neighborhood stellar nursery, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope uncovered a swarm of newborn brown dwarfs. The orbiting observatory's near-infrared camera revealed about 50 of these objects throughout the Orion Nebula's Trapezium cluster [image at right], about 1,500 light-years from Earth. Appearing like glistening precious stones surrounding a setting of sparkling diamonds, more than 300 fledgling stars and brown dwarfs surround the brightest, most massive stars [center of picture] in Hubble's view of the Trapezium cluster's central region. The brown dwarfs are too dim to be seen in an image taken by the Hubble telescope's visible-light camera [picture at left].

Credits for near-infrared image: NASA; K.L. Luhman (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.); and G. Schneider, E. Young, G. Rieke, A. Cotera, H. Chen, M. Rieke, R. Thompson (Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.)

Credits for visible-light picture: NASA, C.R. O'Dell and S.K. Wong (Rice University)


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