Sunday, February 3, 2013
Light from the dark cloud
ESO shows a dark cloud in which new stars are formed straight, while a collection of bright stars, who have left their dusty nursery already.
While on the left side of the new recording sees a dark, elongated structure resembling a cloud of smoke on the right side, a small group of bright stars lit the scene. At first glance, the two parts of the image not to be contradictory, but in reality they are closely linked.
The dark cloud is composed of large amounts of cosmic dust and is a nursery for new stars. Almost certainly, our sun was born more than four billion years ago in a similar star-forming region.
The dark cloud called Lupus 3 is about 600 light years from Earth in the constellation Scorpios (the Scorpion). The section shown here has a diameter of about five light years.
The denser regions such dark clouds gather themselves together by their own gravity, heat up here and begin to glow. Since visible light in the early stages of the collapse is still swallowed by the dust cloud, you can watch the process at this time only at longer wavelengths, such as in the infrared range. Once the new stars are hotter and brighter but, begin their intense radiation and strong stellar winds and enabled people to dissolve the clouds veil.
The bright star in the right of the center of the picture shown here is a perfect example of such a small group of hot, young suns. A part of her intense blue light is scattered by the dust remaining in the area. The two brightest stars are already to be seen with a small telescope or even binoculars. They are probably less than a million years old - so young that they do not produce their energy by nuclear fusion processes. In their environment, even larger amounts of glowing gas are .
Surveys of this region of the sky - one of the closest star nurseries at all - many more very young stellar objects have brought to light that are much less visible than the bright blue star.
There are giant star-forming regions such as the Tarantula Nebula (eso0650), in the form hundreds of massive stars. Most of the stars in the Milky Way and other galaxies, however, are likely to be similar in smaller regions shown here arose in which one observes only two bright and absolutely no very massive stars. The Lupus 3-region is therefore both a attractive object of study for astronomers and a breathtakingly beautiful example of the early life stages of stars.
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