International team of astronomers uses a new infrared interferometer at the VLT to get surprising views of cosmic disks of dust and gas
A research team investigated a disk of gas and dust surrounding a young star, as well as the stellar winds which emanate from that star. The team found unique, previously unknown characteristics of the innermost environment around the star. Another research group carried out the first-ever analysis of the gas and dust material surrounding a "supergiant" star. All of the observations have now been published in the renowned journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
In order to investigate the immediate environment of a young star with unprecedented accuracy, an international team of researchers led by Fabien Malbet of the University of Grenoble used two telescopes of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is located on the Cerro Paranal mountain in Chile. Each of the huge telescope mirrors has a diameter of 8.2 metres; the distance between them is 47 meters. Both telescopes took pictures in the infrared spectral range of the young star MWC 297. Combining these infrared images in the central VLTI beam combination laboratory provides a very high angular resolution. This technique is known as infrared interferometry. The new interferometric instrument AMBER at the VLTI allowed both, the interferometric combination of images from both telescopes and the spectroscopic decomposition of the light.
Prof. Gerd Weigelt | EurekAlert!
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