Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Star Survey Sheds Light On The Evolution Of Galaxies

Date:
September 20, 2005
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
The first survey of the entire northern Milky Way for forty years is shedding fresh light on the life-cycle of stars in our astronomical backyard. The survey, which publishes its initial findings today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, uses the latest high resolution instruments to seek out stars and nebulae in the early and late phases of their evolution, stages that are rarely observed because they are so short-lived.

This is a false-colour composite of nebulosity in the vicinity of the HII region, IC 1396B, in Cepheus. The image scale here is roughly 15 x 15 square arcminutes, with N to the left and E down.
Credit: Nick Wright, University College London

The first survey of the entire northern Milky Way for forty years isshedding fresh light on the life-cycle of stars in our astronomicalbackyard.

The survey, which publishes its initial findings today in theMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, uses the latest highresolution instruments to seek out stars and nebulae in the early andlate phases of their evolution, stages that are rarely observed becausethey are so short-lived. Lead researcher Professor Janet Drew Opens innew window, of the Department of Physics at Imperial College London,says:

"These are crucial evolutionary stages in the growth and death ofplanetary systems, and many of the major unsolved problems in stellarevolution are to do with the fact that we have had relatively fewexamples to work with.

"The last time the northern Milky Way was searched in a concertedway was the 1960s, using much smaller telescopes and now obsoletedetection methods. This new survey has the potential to greatly expandour understanding of how our own Solar System came to be and what itwill become."

The UK, Dutch and Spanish team is using the 2.5 metre Isaac NewtonTelescope (INT) to detect stars and bodies of gas that emit strongly atthe wavelength of red light called H alpha. H alpha is emitted byexcited atoms of hydrogen, allowing scientists to pick out both young,potential planet-building systems and old objects that will soon becomecompact white dwarfs or supernova explosions.

These are particularly important in understanding the evolution ofgalaxies, since youthful stars help to shape the growth of planetarysystems while those in old age recycle energy and chemically enrichedmatter back into the galactic environment as they collapse.

The new survey reaches beyond the sun's orbit around the centre ofthe Milky Way to a radius of 30 kiloparsecs (kpc) around 90,000 lightyears. Currently almost nothing is known about the star populationsbeyond a distance of about 15 kpc. Professor Drew adds:

"At the moment, very little is known about the far reaches of theMilky Way's disc there's still uncertainty in its spiral arm structure,and we don't really know where the stars run out. Recent technicaldevelopments, which have boosted both the efficiency of large-scaleastronomical surveys and their quality in a major way, mean we now havethe opportunity to survey the galaxy we live in at hugely improvedsensitivity."

The team expects to complete its observations in late 2006 with atotal of around 80 million objects catalogued. Current images can beviewed at astro.ic.ac.uk/Research/Halpha/North/gallery.shtml


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "New Star Survey Sheds Light On The Evolution Of Galaxies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050920083205.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2005, September 20). New Star Survey Sheds Light On The Evolution Of Galaxies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050920083205.htm
Imperial College London. "New Star Survey Sheds Light On The Evolution Of Galaxies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050920083205.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

NASA (July 25, 2014) Apollo 11 celebration, Next Giant Leap anticipation, ISS astronauts appear in the House and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Coming and Going

Space to Ground: Coming and Going

NASA (July 25, 2014) One station cargo ship leaves, another arrives, aquatic research and commercial spinoffs. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

Newsy (July 25, 2014) Researchers say if Earth had been a week earlier in its orbit around the sun, it would have taken a direct hit from a 2012 coronal mass ejection. 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:
from the past week

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