The Colliding of Cosmic Winds
This is a beautiful and ethereal display of a “bow shock” about a half a light year across in the Orion Nebula. A bow shock is created in space when two streams of gas collide. In this image, the young star L.L. Orionis emits a solar wind – a stream of charged particles moving rapidly outward from the star. As the fast stellar wind runs into slow moving gas from the surrounding Orion Nebula a shock front is formed, similar to the bow wave of a boat moving through water or a plane traveling at supersonic speed.
(Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team, C. R. O’Dell, Vanderbilt University)