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Million-Degree Plasma Pervading the Extended Orion Nebula

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Science  18 Jan 2008:
Vol. 319, Issue 5861, pp. 309-312
DOI: 10.1126/science.1149926

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Abstract

Most stars form as members of large associations within dense, very cold (10 to 100 kelvin) molecular clouds. The nearby giant molecular cloud in Orion hosts several thousand stars of ages less than a few million years, many of which are located in or around the famous Orion Nebula, a prominent gas structure illuminated and ionized by a small group of massive stars (the Trapezium). We present x-ray observations obtained with the X-ray Multi-Mirror satellite XMM-Newton, revealing that a hot plasma with a temperature of 1.7 to 2.1 million kelvin pervades the southwest extension of the nebula. The plasma flows into the adjacent interstellar medium. This x-ray outflow phenomenon must be widespread throughout our Galaxy.

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