“As always on this boulevard, the faces were young, coming annually in an endless migration from every country, every continent, to alight here once in the long journey of their lives.” –Brian Moore
Even the Universe experiences a “great migration” every now and again, where giant, massive globules of interstellar gas are blown thousands of light years across the galaxy by their hot, star-forming surroundings.
And if I do say so myself, in the case of the Cone Nebula, it looks like the classic “V” pattern that migrating birds engage in. Of course, there are no birds here; this appears to be a gas globule in a dusty, hydrogen-rich region that’s experiencing intense heating and evaporation.
Where’s all that heat coming from? Whats responsible for creating this migrating pattern in space? It originates from a nearby region of space known as the Christmas Tree cluster, a set of stars that forms a very distinctive shape.
The set of blue stars forms an asterism, or pattern of stars in the sky, that looks like a Douglas Fir tree: a traditional Christmas Tree. But the “top-of-the-tree” is a hot, young blue star that’s extremely close to our globule of gas, and it’s thought that the stellar wind from this star, in such close proximity to our gas globule, creates the familiar, migratory pattern of the Cone Nebula.
And while this is the story of the migration of gases in the Universe, we have our own, local story to tell about migration. As many of you noticed, many posts, comments, and pages disappeared for a while over here. Not all images may display properly (including on this post, which is somewhat of a test), and there are problems uploading any files at the moment, with looming problems for large files. This is because we are migrating blogging platforms (which has been in the plans for many years), and there are many kinks still to be ironed out. They will be, of course: your still-missing comments will be recovered, the banner will return, my halloween profile picture will be back, your beautiful images of the Universe will return, and I will re-build the sidebar. (FYI, there is a lot of new spam to deal with, so don’t be surprised if your comments get held in moderation for longer than usual.)
And then, in earnest, we’ll get back to doing what we do best: exploring and learning about the Universe. Thanks for being such a valuable part of this journey so far, and thanks for sticking with me even through the rocky bits.