H II region
H II regions can be several hundred light-years across. The first known H II region was the Orion nebula, which was discovered in 1610. These regions have extremely varied shapes. They often appear clumpy and filamentary, sometimes showing bizarre shapes such as the Horsehead nebula.
H II regions give birth to thousands of stars over several million years. Eventually, this produces a star cluster. In the end, supernova explosions and strong stellar winds from the most massive stars blow away the gases of the H II region. This leaves behind behind a cluster of stars such as the Pleiades.
H II regions can be seen at huge distances in the universe.The study of extragalactic H II regions helps to fix the distance and chemical composition of other galaxies.
Spiral and irregular galaxies have many H II regions, while elliptical galaxies have almost none. In spiral galaxies, like the Milky Way, H II regions are found in the spiral arms, but in the irregular galaxies they are distributed at random.
References[change | change source]
- Pronounced H-two by astronomers (an H I region is neutral atomic hydrogen, and H2 is molecular hydrogen)
- Harrison T.G. 1984. The Orion nebula – where in history is it? Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 25: 65–79.
- Anderson L.D. et al (2009). "The molecular properties of galactic HII regions". The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 181 (1): 255–271. doi:10.1088/0067-0049/181/1/255.