Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Japanese Space Probe's View Of Large Magellanic Cloud: Star Formation At Work

Date:
November 13, 2006
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
The infrared surveyor AKARI, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission with ESA participation, is nearing the completion of its first scan of the entire sky. During this phase of the mission, it has supplied the largest wavelength coverage of the Large Magellanic Cloud to date, and provided fascinating new images of this galaxy.

This false-colour view of the Large Magellanic Cloud is a composite of images taken by AKARI at far-infrared wavelengths (60, 90 and 140 microns). The Large Magellanic Cloud is a neighbour galaxy to the Milky Way.
Credit: Image courtesy of JAXA

The infrared surveyor AKARI, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission with ESA participation, is nearing the completion of its first scan of the entire sky. During this phase of the mission, it has supplied the largest wavelength coverage of the Large Magellanic Cloud to date, and provided fascinating new images of this galaxy.

The Large Magellanic Cloud is a neighbouring galaxy to the Milky Way, the galaxy to which our Solar System belongs. It is located extremely close by astronomical standards, at a distance of 160000 light years and it contains about 10 thousand million stars, about one tenth of our Galaxy's stellar population.

The first image is a far-infrared view obtained by the Far-Infrared Surveyor (FIS) instrument on board AKARI. It reveals the distribution of interstellar matter – dust and gas – over the entire galaxy. Dust grains in these interstellar clouds are heated by the light from newly born stars, and subsequently re-radiate this energy in the form of infrared light. So, the infrared emission indicates that many stars are currently being formed. Such copious star formation activity across a whole galaxy is called a 'star burst'.

The nature of the Large Magellanic Cloud is further revealed by the contrasting distribution of the interstellar matter and the stars. The interstellar matter forms a disk-like structure whilst the stars are located in the 'spindle' shape in the lower half of the image. This shows that the two components are clearly displaced from one another.

Astronomers believe that the observed star formation and the displacement of these two components in the Large Magellanic Cloud were both triggered by the gravitational force generated by our own Galaxy, the Milky Way.

The bright region in the bottom-left of the image is known as the 'Tarantula Nebula'. It is a very productive factory of stars.

The second image was taken at near- and mid-infrared wavelengths by AKARI's Infrared Camera (IRC), and provides a close-up view of part of the Large Magellanic Cloud.

This image shows many old stars (visible as white dots) in addition to the interstellar clouds. It enables astronomers to study the way stars recycle their constituent gases and return them to the interstellar medium at the end of their lives.

These and new data obtained by AKARI will unlock the secrets of how both the Large Magellanic Cloud and our own Galaxy have formed and evolved to their current state.

AKARI was launched on 21 February 2006. It started its all-sky survey observations in May 2006 and will complete its first sky coverage in November this year. According to current estimations, about 70 percent of the whole sky has so far been imaged by AKARI.

JAXA's AKARI project is carried out with the main participation of the following institutes: the Nagoya University, the University of Tokyo, the National Astronomical Observatory Japan, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Imperial College of London, the University of Sussex, the Open University (UK), the University of Groningen / SRON (The Netherlands), the Seoul National University (Korea). The far-infrared detectors were developed under collaboration with The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan.

ESA/ESAC provides expertise and support for the sky-survey data processing through the pointing reconstruction – this allows the determination of accurate astronomical positions for each of the new sources discovered. ESAC also provides user support for the European astronomers who have been granted observing opportunities. ESA/ESOC is providing the mission with ground support through its ground station in Kiruna, for several passes per day.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Japanese Space Probe's View Of Large Magellanic Cloud: Star Formation At Work." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061101151113.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2006, November 13). Japanese Space Probe's View Of Large Magellanic Cloud: Star Formation At Work. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061101151113.htm
European Space Agency. "Japanese Space Probe's View Of Large Magellanic Cloud: Star Formation At Work." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061101151113.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Study Says The Moon Was Deformed Early In Its History

New Study Says The Moon Was Deformed Early In Its History

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Scientists say when the moon was young, it was deformed by the Earth's gravitational pull, which gave it a lemon-like shape. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

Supply Ship Takes Off for International Space Station

AFP (July 30, 2014) The European Space Agency's fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) is takes off to the International Space Station on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship

AP (July 30, 2014) Arianespace launched a rocket Tuesday from French Guiana carrying a robotic cargo ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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