Let there be light/rev II
Using ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), astronomers have created a vast infrared atlas of five nearby stellar nurseries by piecing together more than one million images. These large mosaics reveal young stars in the making, embedded in thick clouds of dust. Thanks to these observations, astronomers have a unique tool with which to decipher the complex puzzle of stellar birth.
“In these images we can detect even the faintest sources of light, like stars far less massive than the Sun, revealing objects that no one has ever seen before,” says Stefan Meingast, an astronomer at the University of Vienna in Austria and lead author of the new study published today in Astronomy & Astrophysics. “This will allow us to understand the processes that transform gas and dust into stars.”
Stars form when clouds of gas and dust collapse under their own gravity, but the details of how this happens are not fully understood. How many stars are born out of a cloud? How massive are they? How many stars will also have planets?
Questions, questions, never-ending in a reality we will never fully understand.
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