Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mega Starbirth Cluster Is Biggest, Brightest And Hottest Ever Seen

30.10.2003


A mysterious arc of light found behind a distant cluster of galaxies has turned out to be the biggest, brightest and hottest star-forming region ever seen in space.


Artist’s impression of the Lynx Arc



The so-called Lynx Arc is one million times brighter than the well-known Orion Nebula, a nearby prototypical ’starbirth’ region visible with small telescopes. The newly identified super-cluster contains a million blue-white stars that are twice as hot as similar stars in our Milky Way galaxy. It is a rarely glimpsed example of the early days of the Universe where furious firestorms of starbirth blazed across the skies. The spectacular cluster’s opulence is dimmed when seen from Earth only by the fact that it is 12 000 million light years away.

The discovery of this unique and tantalising object was the result of a systematic study of distant clusters of galaxies carried out with major X-ray, optical and infrared telescopes, including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, ROSAT and the Keck Telescopes. Bob Fosbury, of the European Space Agency’s Space Telescope-European Coordinating Facility in Germany, and a team of international co-authors report the discovery in the 20 October 2003 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.


The mega-cluster of stars appears as a puzzling red arc behind a distant galaxy cluster 5400 million light-years away in the northern constellation of Lynx. The arc is the stretched and magnified image of a mysterious celestial object about 12 000 million light-years away (at a redshift of 3.36), far beyond the cluster of galaxies. This means that the remote source existed when the Universe was less than 2000 million years old.

Fosbury and colleagues first tried to identify the arc by analysing the light from the object, but the team was not able to recognise the pattern of colours in the spectral signature of the remote object. While looking for matches with the colour spectrum, Fosbury realised that the light was related to that of the nearby Orion Nebula, a star-forming region in our own Milky Way. However where the Orion Nebula is powered by only four hot and bright blue stars, the Lynx Arc must contain around a million such stars!

Furthermore, the spectrum shows that the stars in the Lynx Arc are more than twice as hot as the Orion Nebula’s central stars, with surface temperatures up to 80 000°C. Though there are much bigger and brighter star-forming regions than the Orion Nebula in our local Universe, none are as bright as the Lynx Arc, nor do they contain such large numbers of hot stars.

Even the most massive, normal nearby stars are no hotter than around 40 000°C. However, stars forming from the original, pristine gas in the early Universe can be more massive and consequently much hotter - perhaps up to 120 000°C. The earliest stars may have been as much as several hundred solar masses, but the chemical make-up of the Universe today prevents stars from forming beyond about 100 solar masses.

Such ’primordial’ super-hot stars are thought to be the first luminous objects to condense after the Big Bang cooled. Astronomers believe that these first ’monster’ stars formed considerably earlier than the Lynx Arc - up to 1800 million years earlier. "This remarkable object is the closest we have come so far to seeing what such primordial objects might look like when our telescopes become powerful enough to see them," says Fosbury. The desire to find and study the first luminous objects in the Universe is the main scientific drive behind the construction of the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2011.

| ESA
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEMPI8WLDMD_FeatureWeek_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Taking a spin on plasma space tornadoes with NASA observations
20.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth
17.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>