Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Star Cluster Baby Pictures Leave Astronomers Beaming

Date:
January 13, 2000
Source:
University Of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
Peering deep into a distant galaxy, astronomers have obtained a glimpse of what may be the youngest massive star clusters ever observed. The discovery, announced today at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society by astronomers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Colorado, is important because it provides astronomers with a look inside stellar nurseries at massive clusters of stars in their infancy.

NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: High-resolution images to accompany this story may be downloaded at: http://www.news.wisc.edu/newsphotos/aas.html

ATLANTA (Jan. 12, 2000) - Peering deep into a distant galaxy, astronomers have obtained a glimpse of what may be the youngest massive star clusters ever observed.

The discovery, announced today at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society by astronomers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Colorado, is important because it provides astronomers with a look inside stellar nurseries at massive clusters of stars in their infancy.

Estimated to be as young as 500,000 years, the star clusters are in the very earliest stages of development, analogous to the first day of life in human terms, the astronomers says.

"This is exciting because it may reveal the types of environments where globular clusters form," says Henry (Chip) Kobulnicky, a UW-Madison astronomer. "No one has ever seen a star cluster of any type, much less a possible globular cluster, at such a young age."

The discovery was made with the help of the Very Large Array (VLA), a huge, highly sensitive radio telescope located near Socorro, N.M. Using the VLA, Kobulnicky and colleague Kelsey Johnson of the University of Colorado, were able to look deep into a galaxy known as Henize 2-10 and penetrate obscuring clouds of dust and ionized gas surrounding at least five clusters consisting of hundreds of young, massive stars.

Common in galaxies, star clusters are tightly packed groups of hundreds to thousands of stars that are much more luminous and massive than the sun. Their ages are typically estimated to be several million years old. Globular clusters are similar, but far older - 8 to 12 billion years - and consist of stars more like the sun.

Free of the obscuring clouds of dust and gas found around stars in the earliest stages of their existence, most star clusters can be seen with conventional optical telescopes. However, stars coming to life within cocoons of dust and gas are hidden from view, but can be detected by the radio waves that pass through the obscuring clouds.

What the Wisconsin-Colorado team observed, says Kobulnicky, were five clusters of stars with an estimated 500 to 1,000 massive stars each in Henize 2-10, a galaxy located 32 million light years from Earth in the constellation Pyxis. Packed into relatively small areas of space - roughly an area the size of the distance between the sun and Alpha Centauri, the star nearest the sun - such dense clusters of massive stars are believed to evolve over billions of years into globular clusters such as the ones that orbit the Milky Way.

Knowing about the first stages of their development, according to Kobulnicky, is important because it will provide some insight into how such objects, which appear to be common in all galaxies, come into being.

###

The work was supported by NASA through grants to the universities in Wisconsin and Colorado. The VLA is operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, an arm of the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Wisconsin-Madison. "Star Cluster Baby Pictures Leave Astronomers Beaming." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113080636.htm>.
University Of Wisconsin-Madison. (2000, January 13). Star Cluster Baby Pictures Leave Astronomers Beaming. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113080636.htm
University Of Wisconsin-Madison. "Star Cluster Baby Pictures Leave Astronomers Beaming." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000113080636.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) The smallest of Saturn's main moons, Mimas, wobbles as it orbits. Research reveals it might be due to a global ocean underneath its icy surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins