Sh2-106 is an emission nebula and a star formation region in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan), an isolated area of the Milky Way. S106 was the 106th object to be catalogued by astronomer Stewart Sharpless in the 1950s. It is an H II region estimated to be around 2,000 light-years from Earth, and spans about 2 light-years across. In the center of the nebula is a young and massive star that emits jets of hot gas and dust from its poles, squeezing the expanding nebula into its apparent hourglass or bipolar shape.
Hubble’s view captures furious activity in the nebula, with ridges and ripples of super-hot gas mixing with the cooler interstellar medium. Responsible for this turbulence is the central star, a source of infrared radiation usually referred to as S106 IRS 4 (Infrared Source 4), approximately 15 solar masses. Two jets of matter, glowing blue, streaming from its poles heat surrounding matter to a temperature of around 10,000°C., with dusky red veins, not ionized by the star’s jets, surround the blue emission from the nebula. It is ejecting material at around 100 km/sec. With an estimated surface temperature of 37,000°K, it is classified as a type O8 star.
Studies of images has revealed that the star-forming region has also created hundreds of low-mass brown dwarf stars and protostars. At purely infrared wavelengths, more than 600 of these sub-stellar objects appear. These “failed” stars weigh less than a tenth of our Sun, and because of their low mass, they cannot produce sustained energy through nuclear fusion like our Sun does. They encompass the nebula in a small cluster.
Credit: NASA, Wikipedia.