The object, known by the unglamorous name of IRS8, was only an ill-defined smudge until Gemini came along. Now, the Gemini telescope's advanced optics show that IRS8 appears to be a star that is plowing through a poorly understood gas and dust cloud near the galactic center. Moving relative to the cloud, the star creates a very obvious bow-shock wave, similar to the wave that forms in front of a boat as it goes through water.
Images obtained in July and August 2000 using Gemini with Hokupa'a/QUIRC Adaptive Optics system. Each image is made from H (1.65µm) and K' (2.1µm) filters. Pixel scale is approximately 0.02 arcsec/pixel. Integration times ranged from 10-15 minutes pe