Found within the Small Magellanic Cloud – a galactic neighbor of the Milky Way – the large region of ionized hydrogen gas is designated "LHa115-N19," and "contains a number of massive stars and overlapping supernova remnants," said Rosa Williams, an astronomer at the U. of I. "We can tell there has been a fair amount of stellar activity going on."
From birth to death, massive stars have a tremendous impact on their surroundings. While alive, these stars generate stellar winds that push away nearby gas and dust, forming low-density cavities inside expanding bubbles. When the stars die, shock waves from their death throes can enlarge those bubbles into huge supernova remnants.
"In N19, we have not one star, but a number of massive stars blowing bubbles and we have several supernova remnants," Williams said. "Some of these cavities may overlap with one another. Eventually, these bubbles could merge into one enormous cavity, called a superbubble."
To identify the locations of massive stars, stellar-wind bubbles and supernova remnants in N19, Williams and colleagues combined optical images, X-ray data and spectroscopic measurements.
"We caught this particular region of N19 at a neat moment in time," Williams said. "The stars are just dispersed enough that their stellar winds and supernova blasts are working together, but have not yet carved out a full cavity. We are witnessing the birth of a superbubble."
The behavior of matter and energy within a superbubble has implications for the formation of planetary systems, said Williams, who will present her team's findings at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle, on Tuesday (Jan. 9).
During its life and death, a massive star forges the heavy elements that enrich the interstellar medium and form planets. "Our own solar system may have formed within the confines of a superbubble," said Williams, who uses an analogy with people to help explain her interest in superbubbles.
"Some people live pretty independently in isolated country houses, while others live in large cities that require a centralized structure," Williams said. "In N19, we are looking at a possible bridge between an individual star living its life and dying its death, and a community of stars, where living and dying affects other stars and planets, and creates a structure around them."
James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region
16.03.2018 | American Institute of Physics
Fraunhofer HHI have developed a novel single-polarization Kramers-Kronig receiver scheme
16.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences