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 Basque researchers turn light upside down
23.02.2018 | Elhuyar Fundazioa

nachricht Attoseconds break into atomic interior
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik

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: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>