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  • richardmitnick 8:14 am on March 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Carina Nebula, , ,   

    From ESA: “Chaotic web of filaments in a Milky Way stellar nursery” 

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    European Space Agency

    26/03/2018

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    Chaotic web of filaments in a Milky Way stellar nursery. ESA/Herschel/PACS, SPIRE/Hi-GAL Project. Acknowledgement: UNIMAP / L. Piazzo, La Sapienza – Università di Roma; E. Schisano / G. Li Causi, IAPS/INAF, Italy

    ESA/Herschel spacecraft

    The plane of the Milky Way is rich in star-forming regions, such as the one pictured in this stunning scene by ESA’s Herschel space observatory. To the far-infrared eye of Herschel, this region reveals an intricate network of gas filaments and dark bubbles interspersed by bright hotspots where new stars come to life.

    The cooler regions, which emit light at longer wavelengths, are displayed in a red-brownish colour. Hotter areas, where star formation is more intense, shine in blue and white tones. Some areas are particularly bright, suggesting a number of luminous, massive stars are forming there.

    Particularly striking is the chaotic web of gas filaments we see in this scene. Astronomers think there is a link between star formation and the filamentary structures in the interstellar medium. In the densest strands, the gas that makes up the filaments becomes unstable and forms clumps of material bound together by gravity. If dense enough, these collapsed blobs of gas eventually go on to become newborn stars.

    Observations by Herschel showed the filamentary complexity to be ubiquitous in the plane of our Galaxy, from a few to hundreds of light-years. In nearby star-forming clouds, within 1500 light-years of the Sun, these filaments seem to be roughly all the same width – about a third of a light-year. This suggests a common physical mechanism in their origin, possibly linked to the turbulent nature of interstellar gas clouds.

    The star-formation region in this image, centred around –70º longitude in galactic coordinates, is located in the Carina neighbourhood, home to the glorious Carina Nebula. Located some 7500 light-years away, Carina is one of the largest clouds of gas and dust in the plane of the Milky Way. It hosts the famous Eta Carinae, one of the most luminous and massive stellar systems in our galaxy.

    Nebula in the constellation Carina, contains the central cluster of huge, hot stars, called NGC 3603. NASA/ESA Hubble

    Eta Carinae Image Credit: N. Smith, J. A. Morse (U. Colorado) et al., NASA

    Herschel, which operated from 2009 until 2013, was a large space telescope observing in the far-infrared and submillimetre parts of the spectrum. This spectral range is ideal to observe the glow from cool dust in the regions where stars form. As part of Hi-GAL, the Herschel infrared Galactic Plane Survey, the observatory surveyed the plane of our Galaxy, exploring the Milky Way’s star-formation regions in unprecedented detail. This image, a product of Hi-GAL, combines observations at three different wavelengths: 70 microns (blue), 160 microns (green) and 250 microns (red).

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 8:20 am on November 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Carina Nebula, , , ,   

    From ESO: “Pillars of Destruction” 

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    European Southern Observatory

    1
    Region R44 in the Carina Nebula

    Colourful Carina Nebula blasted by brilliant nearby stars

    2 November 2016
    Anna Faye McLeod
    ESO
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6321
    Email: amcleod@eso.org

    Mathias Jäger
    Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 176 62397500
    Email: mjaeger@partner.eso.org

    Spectacular new observations of vast pillar-like structures within the Carina Nebula have been made using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The different pillars analysed by an international team seem to be pillars of destruction — in contrast to the name of the iconic Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, which are of similar nature.

    ESO MUSE
    ESO MUSE

    The spires and pillars in the new images of the Carina Nebula are vast clouds of dust and gas within a hub of star formation about 7500 light-years away. The pillars in the nebula were observed by a team led by Anna McLeod, a PhD student at ESO, using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope.

    Nebula in the constellation Carina, contains the central cluster of huge, hot stars, called NGC 3603. NASA/ESA Hubble
    Nebula in the constellation Carina, contains the central cluster of huge, hot stars, called NGC 3603. NASA/ESA Hubble

    The great power of MUSE is that it creates thousands of images of the nebula at the same time, each at a different wavelength of light. This allows astronomers to map out the chemical and physical properties of the material at different points in the nebula.

    Images of similar structures, the famous Pillars of Creation [1] in the Eagle Nebula and formations in NGC 3603, were combined with the ones displayed here. In total ten pillars have been observed, and in so doing a clear link was observed between the radiation emitted by nearby massive stars and the features of the pillars themselves.

    eagle-nebula
    Eagle nebula
    eagle-nebula-new
    Pillars of Creation

    In an ironic twist, one of the first consequences of the formation of a massive star is that it starts to destroy the cloud from which it was born. The idea that massive stars will have a considerable effect on their surroundings is not new: such stars are known to blast out vast quantities of powerful, ionising radiation — emission with enough energy to strip atoms of their orbiting electrons. However, it is very difficult to obtain observational evidence of the interplay between such stars and their surroundings.

    The team analysed the effect of this energetic radiation on the pillars: a process known as photoevaporation, when gas is ionised and then disperses away. By observing the results of photoevaporation — which included the loss of mass from the pillars — they were able to deduce the culprits. There was a clear correlation between the amount of ionising radiation being emitted by nearby stars, and the dissipation of the pillars.

    This might seem like a cosmic calamity, with massive stars turning on their own creators. However the complexities of the feedback mechanisms between the stars and the pillars are poorly understood. These pillars might look dense, but the clouds of dust and gas which make up nebulae are actually very diffuse. It is possible that the radiation and stellar winds from massive stars actually help create denser spots within the pillars, which can then form stars.

    These breathtaking celestial structures have more to tell us, and MUSE is an ideal instrument to probe them with.
    Notes

    [1] The Pillars of Creation are an iconic image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, making them the most famous of these structures. Also known as elephant trunks, they can be several light-years in length.

    More information

    This research was presented in a paper entitled Connecting the dots: a correlation between ionising radiation and cloud mass-loss rate traced by optical integral field spectroscopy, by A. F. McLeod et al., published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    The team is composed of A. F. McLeod (ESO, Garching, Germany), M. Gritschneder (Universitäts-Sternwarte, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany), J. E. Dale (Universitäts-Sternwarte, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany), A. Ginsburg (ESO, Garching, Germany), P. D.Klaassen (UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, UK), J. C. Mottram (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany), T. Preibisch (Universitäts-Sternwarte, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany), S. Ramsay (ESO, Garching, Germany), M. Reiter (University of Michigan Department of Astronomy, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA) and L. Testi (ESO, Garching, Germany).

    See the full article here .

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