Thursday, July 22, 2021

Where stars born

It has long been known that stars form from clouds of gas and dust. However, the mechanisms underlying star formation still remain a mystery.

ESO has recently released a series of new images created by combining the data obtained in the visible from the VLT and in the submillimeter from ALMA. These images show in an unprecedented perspective some of the galaxies closest to us, such as NGC 4303, shown in the post.

For the first time in history it has been possible to solve the individual units in which star formation processes are active. This made it possible to study in detail the gas from which the stars originate and to follow all the phases of their evolution.

By analyzing these data, astronomers will be able to study the galactic regions in which star formation phenomena are occurring and, by comparing them with what should be found from the theory, they will try to understand the mechanisms that trigger star formation.

The amount of data to be analyzed is impressive. In fact, more than 100,000 cold gas clouds and 30,000 hot gas clouds have been observed, located in 90 galaxies close to Earth. In total, 15 million spectra from different galactic regions were obtained.

Credit: ESO.

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