Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .




SKY NIGHTLY
A Spectacular Landscape of Star Formation
by Staff Writers
Paris (SPX) Aug 22, 2014


This mosaic of images from the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile shows two dramatic star formation regions in the southern Milky Way. The first of these, on the left, is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located about 20 000 light-years away, in the Carina-Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The second object, on the right, is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576 that lies only about half as far from Earth. Image courtesy ESO/G. Beccari. For a larger version of this image please go here.

This image, captured by the Wide Field Imager at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, shows two dramatic star formation regions in the southern Milky Way. The first is of these, on the left, is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located 20 000 light-years away, in the Carina-Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy.

The second object, on the right, is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576 that lies only about half as far from Earth.

NGC 3603 is a very bright star cluster and is famed for having the highest concentration of massive stars that have been discovered in our galaxy so far. At the centre lies a Wolf-Rayet multiple star system, known as HD 97950.

Wolf-Rayet stars are at an advanced stage of stellar evolution, and start off with around 20 times the mass of the Sun. But, despite this large mass, Wolf-Rayet stars shed a considerable amount of their matter due to intense stellar winds, which blast the star's surface material off into space at several million kilometres per hour, a crash diet of cosmic proportions.

NGC 3603 is in an area of very active star formation. Stars are born in dark and dusty regions of space, largely hidden from view. But as the very young stars gradually start to shine and clear away their surrounding cocoons of material they become visible and create glowing clouds in the surrounding material, known as HII regions.

HII regions shine because of the interaction of ultraviolet radiation given off by the brilliant hot young stars with the hydrogen gas clouds. HII regions can measure several hundred light-years in diameter, and the one surrounding NGC 3603 has the distinction of being the most massive in our galaxy.

The cluster was first observed by John Herschel on 14 March 1834 during his three-year expedition to systematically survey the southern skies from near Cape Town. He described it as a remarkable object and thought that it might be a globular star cluster. Future studies showed that it is not an old globular, but a young open cluster, one of the richest known.

NGC 3576, on the right of the image, also lies in the Carina-Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way. But it is located only about 9000 light-years from Earth - much closer than NGC 3603, but appearing next to it in the sky.

NGC 3576 is notable for two huge curved objects resembling the curled horns of a ram.

These odd filaments are the result of stellar winds from the hot, young stars within the central regions of the nebula, which have blown the dust and gas outwards across a hundred light-years.

Two dark silhouetted areas known as Bok globules are also visible in this vast complex of nebulae. These black clouds near the top of the nebula also offer potential sites for the future formation of new stars.

NGC 3576 was also discovered by John Herschel in 1834, making it a particularly productive and visually rewarding year for the English astronomer.

.


Related Links
ESO
Astronomy News from Skynightly.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





SKY NIGHTLY
First LOFAR observations of the "Whirlpool Galaxy"
Southampton, UK (SPX) Aug 22, 2014
Using a radio telescope with frequencies just above those of commercial FM radio stations, a European team of astronomers has obtained the most sensitive image of a galaxy below 1 GHz. The team viewed the "Whirlpool Galaxy" Messier 51 (M51), about 30 million light years away, with the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope in the frequency range 115-175 MHz, just above the normal commercial ... read more


SKY NIGHTLY
Sea Launch Takes Proactive Steps to Address Manifest Gap

SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight

Russian Cosmonauts Carry Out Science-Oriented Spacewalk Outside ISS

Optus 10 delivered to French Guiana for Ariane 5 Sept launch

SKY NIGHTLY
Mars Rover Team Chooses Not to Drill 'Bonanza King'

Indian orbiter to reach Mars in 33 days

Mars thigh bone is really just a rock spotted by Curiosity

Curiosity's Brushwork on Martian 'Bonanza King' Target

SKY NIGHTLY
Electric Sparks May Alter Evolution of Lunar Soil

China to test recoverable moon orbiter

China to send orbiter to moon and back

August supermoon will be brightest this year

SKY NIGHTLY
From Pinpoint of Light to a Geologic World

New Horizons Spies Charon Orbiting Pluto

ALMA telescope sizes up Pluto's orbit

Putting It All Together

SKY NIGHTLY
Rotation of Planets Influences Habitability

Planet-like object may have spent its youth as hot as a star

Young binary star system may form planets with weird and wild orbits

Hubble Finds Three Surprisingly Dry Exoplanets

SKY NIGHTLY
NASA Engineers Begin Testing for SLS Liquid Oxygen Feed System

Ride Shotgun With NASA Saucer As It Flies to Near Space

'Impossible' engine may actually work, NASA engineers suggest

Federal auditors say NASA doesn't have funds for big rocket

SKY NIGHTLY
China Sends Remote-Sensing Satellite into Orbit

More Tasks for China's Moon Mission

China's Circumlunar Spacecraft Unmasked

China to launch HD observation satellite this year

SKY NIGHTLY
Europe sees five possible sites for comet landing

As Seen by Rosetta: Comet Surface Variations

Orbital Completes Third Cargo Delivery Mission to ISS for NASA

Seven tiny grains captured by Stardust likely visitors from interstellar space




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.