Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Extreme star cluster bursts into life in new Hubble image

04.10.2007
NGC 3603 is a prominent star-forming region located in the Carina spiral arm of the Milky Way, about 20,000 light-years away from our Solar System.

This latest image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a young star cluster surrounded by a vast region of dust and gas. Most of the bright stars in the image are hot blue stars whose ultraviolet radiation and violent winds have blown out an enormous cavity in the gas and dust enveloping the cluster.

The new Hubble image provides a snapshot in time of many stars with differing masses but similar ages inside the young cluster. This allows for detailed analysis of several types of stars at varying stages in their lives. Astronomers can then compare clusters of different ages with one another and determine which properties (such as temperature and brightness) change as the stars get older.

According to astronomer Dr. Jesús Maíz Apellániz from Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain, who is leading the Hubble investigation, the massive star cluster in NGC 3603 appears to gather the most massive stars at its core. He and his team have discovered that the distribution of different types of stars at the centre of this very dense cluster is similar to that of other young star clusters in the Milky Way.

The team has also found that the three brightest stars in the centre are apparently misleading us into believing that they are more massive objects than theoretical limits allow. These heavyweight stars may actually consist of two or maybe more individual massive stars whose light has blended together. Even with the resolution of Hubble it is not possible to separate the individual stars in each of the three systems. This finding agrees with a recent discovery by Dr. Anthony Moffat from the Université de Montréal, Canada, who used ESO’s Very Large Telescope and Hubble’s infrared NICMOS camera to measure the movements of the individual stars in two of the three systems. Dr. Moffat measured the largest individual mass to be roughly 115 solar masses, which is within the acceptable limits for conventional theory.

The swirling nebula of NGC 3603 contains around 400,000 solar masses of gas. Lurking within this vast cloud are a few Bok globules (seen at the top right corner of the image), named after Bart Bok who first observed them in the 1940s. These are dark clouds of dense dust and gas with masses of about ten to fifty times larger than that of the Sun. They resemble insect cocoons and are undergoing gravitational collapse on their way to form new stars. Bok globules appear to be some of the coldest objects in the Universe.

NGC 3603 was first discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1834. It is known to harbour a blue supergiant star called Sher 25 that can be spotted above and left of the densest part of the cluster. This star is believed to be near the point of exploding as a supernova and is often denoted as the Milky Way counterpart of the predecessor of the now famous supernova SN 1987A.

Lars Christensen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/html/heic0715.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile
11.12.2017 | University of Birmingham

nachricht Three kinds of information from a single X-ray measurement
11.12.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

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: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

Large-scale battery storage system in field trial

11.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>