Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Multi-wavelength images help astronomers study star birth, death

12.01.2006


Black and white reproductions of Vincent van Gogh’s "The Starry Night" lack the beauty and depth of the original oil painting. In a similar fashion, images of stars and galaxies composed of a single wavelength band cannot convey the wealth of information now accessible to astronomers.


This false-color image shows infrared (red), optical (green), and X-ray (blue) views of the N49 supernova remnant. This object, the remains of an exploded star, has million-degree gas in the center, with much cooler gas at the outer parts of the remnant. Credit: NASA (SSC/HST/CXC), U.Illinois (R.Williams & Y.-H.Chu)


This false-color image shows infrared (red), optical (green), and X-ray (blue) views of the large star-forming complex N51. The warm ionized gas is shown in green, the hot ionized gas is in blue, and the proto-stars are primarily in red. Credit: NASA/SSC/MCELS/ESA/U.Illinois (Y.-H. Chu and R. A. Gruendl)



In recent years, a number of ground-based optical and radio surveys of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds -- Earth’s nearest neighboring galaxies -- have become available. New composite images of optical, radio, infrared, ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths are giving astronomers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign a clearer picture of the birth, life and death of massive stars, and their effect on the gas and dust of the interstellar medium surrounding them.

From their birth to their death, massive stars have a tremendous impact on their galactic surroundings. While alive, these stars energize and enrich the interstellar medium with their strong ultraviolet radiation and their fast stellar winds. As they die, shock waves from their death throes inject vast quantities of mechanical energy into the interstellar medium and can lead to the formation of future stars.


"Comparing images at different wavelengths lets us create a more complete picture, rather than seeing only a few features in isolation," said You-Hua Chu, chair of the astronomy department at Illinois. "Using multi-spectral data sets, we can examine the physical structure of the interstellar medium and study the conditions that lead to star formation."

Massive stars interact with the interstellar medium in many ways. Their fast stellar winds and supernova blasts can sweep up the surrounding medium into expanding shells filled with hot gas.

"The expanding shells produce conditions that may start a new wave of star births," said Robert Gruendl, an Illinois astronomer who uses Spitzer Space Telescope observations to search for proto-stars. "The combination of X-ray, optical and infrared observations allow us to determine whether the pressure of the hot gas or compression by a passing shock wave is responsible for triggering star formation."

In related work, Illinois astronomer Rosa Williams has added data from a new wavelength regime to her growing database on stellar graveyards in the Magellanic Clouds. Comparing infrared images obtained with the Spitzer Space Telescope, Williams explored the distribution of matter caught in the expanding shells of supernova remnants.

"We expected significant infrared emission to be generated by dust particles," Williams said. "Instead, most of the emission from these remnants came from heated gas."

Strong ultraviolet radiation from nearby star-forming regions may have ionized the gas and torn apart the dust particles consisting of hydrocarbon molecules, Williams said. "Other dust particles could have been shattered by shock waves from the supernova."

To solve the missing dust mystery, Williams said, "We are investigating the nature and amount of dust in regions surrounding the supernova remnants to see whether the deficiency in dust is inherent in the environment or created by the remnant."

Chu, Gruendl and Williams will present their latest findings at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday (Jan. 11).

James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab
15.08.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity
15.08.2018 | University of California - Riverside

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>