Don Savage Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1547


June 9, 1997

Tammy Jones Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD (Phone: 301/286-5566) Ray Villard Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD (Phone: 410/338-4514) RELEASE: 97-127 STEADY STREAM OF DISCOVERIES COMING FROM NEW HUBBLE INSTRUMENTS Seeing a group of baby Sun-like stars surrounding their "mother star"; detecting a titanic shock wave smashing into unseen gas around a supernova; finding a disk at the heart of a galactic collision: these are among what are now becoming routine discoveries for astronomers as they finish checking out the Hubble Space Telescope's new instruments. Like someone trying out a new camera, Hubble instrument teams have looked at a variety of objects and made some unexpected new findings along the way. These results are being presented at the 190th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Winston-Salem, NC, by the principal investigator for the Near Infrared Camera and MultiObject Spectrometer, Dr. Rodger Thompson of the University of Arizona, and Dr. Bruce Woodgate, principal investigator for the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. "We were very pleased to see this new generation of ultraviolet light sensors come up to full operation so successfully. That's a major step forward for space astronomy. We still have a lot of work to do to get them fully commissioned, but these first ultraviolet science images taken with the spectrograph are very promising," said Dr. David Leckrone, Hubble

Project Scientist at Goddard. NEW FINDINGS FROM THE NEW INSTRUMENTS PARENT AND OFFSPRING STARS Peering through the dust in a nearby star-forming region called NGC 2264 that contains the Cone Nebula, the infrared camera has provided direct confirmation of a type of starbirth called "triggered" star formation. Though such a starbirth scenario has been theorized for years, this is the first direct observation on such a small-distance scale. This form of starbirth happens when a gale of high speed particles from a young massive star (called NGC 2264 IRS or Allen's Source) compresses nearby dust and gas until it is dense enough to trigger the formation of six much smaller and fainter Sun-like stars only a fraction of a light-year away from the massive "parent." BLAST WAVE FROM SUPERNOVA The spectrograph has discovered the first direct evidence for material from Supernova 1987A colliding with an outer ring of gas which was ejected before the star exploded. The fastest debris, moving at 9,000 miles per second or 1/20th the speed of light, is slamming into the slower moving gas which was ejected when the doomed star was a red giant. Astronomers report this is a new component of material around the star which was predicted to exist, but was never directly seen before. DUST DISK DEEP IN THE HEART OF GALACTIC COLLISION Probing the nucleus of the peculiar galaxy called Arp 220, the infrared camera has discovered a 300-light-year diameter dust disk and other remarkably complex structures around the galaxy's unique "double nucleus" of two bright compact star clusters. The disk, which may fuel a supermassive black hole or rapid starformation activity, appears silhouetted against one of the twin star clusters at the nucleus. BEAM FROM A BLACK HOLE The imaging spectrograph, which just last month demonstrated its efficiency as a black hole hunter, now shows the results when the power of a black hole is unleashed into its surrounding environment. In a single observation, the spectrograph measured the velocities of hundreds of gas blobs caught up in a twin-cone beam of radiation emanating from a supermassive black hole at the core of galaxy NGC 4151. Follow-up observations reveal hot gas emanating from deep within the throat of the beam, near the

vicinity of the black hole. These observations also allow scientists to map the mass outflows near the black hole. The surprisingly complex motion may offer clues to the galaxy's stellar population, the orientation of the beam in the past, or evidence of some kind of backflow of gas into the central cone regions. -endImage files in GIF and JPEG format and captions may be accessed on the Internet via anonymous ftp from in /pubinfo GIF JPEG PRC97-16 NGC 2264 gif/n2264nic.gif peg/n2264nic.jpg PRC97-17 Arp 220 gif/a220nic.gif jpeg/a220nic.jpg PRC97-18 NGC 4151 gif/4151stis.gif jpeg/4151stis.jpg Higher resolution digital versions (300 dpi JPEG) of the release photograph are available in /pubinfo/hrtemp: 97-16.jpg, 97-17.jpg and 97-18.jpg (color) and 97-16bw.jpg, 97-17bw.jpg and 97-18bw.jpg (black & white). GIF and JPEG images, captions and press release text are available via World Wide Web at: and via links in: or NOTE TO EDITORS: Reporters who are unable to attend the 12:45 P.M. EDT press conference may have access to the audio by calling one of the following phone numbers: 407/867-1220; 407/867-1240; or 407/867-1260. Those using these lines will not be able to ask questions.