Early results from the largest new survey of dying stars in the Virgo Cluster reveal the existence of large numbers of stars in areas of space that previously appeared to be empty. The discovery, which uses dying stars known as planetary nebulae as tools for probing the universe, indicates that at least 22 percent of Virgo's light is coming from previously unknown stars that populate the space between the cluster's galaxies. The discovery was made by John J. Feldmeier, a Penn State graduate student, Robin Ciardullo, associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, and George H. Jacoby, staff astronomer at Kitt Peak National Observatories, using observations from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. The astronomers will present their discovery at 9:20 a.m., Central time, on Thursday, January 7, 1999, during the 193rd National Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas.
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