Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Astronomers discover new star-forming regions in Milky Way

Date:
May 27, 2010
Source:
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Summary:
Newly-discovered star-forming regions are revealing new view of Milky Way's structure and promise new clues about the Galaxy's chemical composition

Artist's conception of the Milky Way. Our sun lies near a small, partial arm called the Orion Arm, or Orion Spur, located between the Sagittarius and Perseus arms.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)

Astronomers studying the Milky Way have discovered a large number of previously-unknown regions where massive stars are being formed. Their discovery provides important new information about the structure of our home Galaxy and promises to yield new clues about the chemical composition of the Galaxy.

"We can clearly relate the locations of these star-forming sites to the overall structure of the Galaxy. Further studies will allow us to better understand the process of star formation and to compare the chemical composition of such sites at widely different distances from the Galaxy's center," said Thomas Bania, of Boston University.

Bania worked with Loren Anderson of the Astrophysical Laboratory of Marseille in France, Dana Balser of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and Robert Rood of the University of Virginia. The scientists presented their findings to the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Miami, Florida.

The star-forming regions the astronomers sought, called H II regions, are sites where hydrogen atoms are ionized, or stripped of their electrons, by the intense radiation of the massive, young stars. To find these regions hidden from visible-light detection by the Milky Way's gas and dust, the researchers used infrared and radio telescopes.

"We found our targets by using the results of infrared surveys done with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and of surveys done with the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope," Anderson said. "Objects that appear bright in both the Spitzer and VLA images we studied are good candidates for H II regions," he explained.

The astronomers then used the NSF's giant Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia, an extremely sensitive radio telescope. With the GBT, they were able to detect specific radio frequencies emitted by electrons as they recombined with protons to form hydrogen. This evidence of recombination confirmed that the regions contained ionized hydrogen and thus are H II regions.

Further analysis allowed the astronomers to determine the locations of the H II regions. They found concentrations of the regions at the end of the Galaxy's central bar and in its spiral arms. Their analysis also showed that 25 of the regions are farther from the Galaxy's center than the Sun.

"Finding the ones beyond the solar orbit is important, because studying them will provide important information about the chemical evolution of the Galaxy. There is evidence that the abundance of heavy elements changes with increasing distance from the Galactic center. We now have many more objects to study and improve our understanding of this effect," Bania said.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Radio Astronomy Observatory. "Astronomers discover new star-forming regions in Milky Way." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100526111232.htm>.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory. (2010, May 27). Astronomers discover new star-forming regions in Milky Way. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100526111232.htm
National Radio Astronomy Observatory. "Astronomers discover new star-forming regions in Milky Way." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100526111232.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

NASA (Aug. 18, 2014) — Europe's ATV-5 delivers new science and the crew tests smart SPHERES. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) — The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

NASA (Aug. 15, 2014) — Carbon Observatory’s First Data, ATV-5 Delivers Cargo, Cygnus Departs Station and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Shuttle Replica Hoisted for Landmark Exhibit

Space Shuttle Replica Hoisted for Landmark Exhibit

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 14, 2014) — The space shuttle replica Independence has been hoisted atop Space Center Houston's shuttle carrier aircraft, creating a monument to the shuttle program which will open to the public next year. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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