One step closer to revealing the origin of stars

Heaven has been a companion since the dawn of mankind Time. Although we don’t understand how it works, Served our ancestors as a tool for measuring time and distance. For example, the sun determined the length of a day Luna, for its part, indicated the approximate duration of the months. On the other hand, although it seems already obsolete, the stars mark its cycles for hundreds of years. Crops and seasons. Even these stars They were a great orientation tool For sailors, it led to new inventions like the marine astrolabe.

However, in recent years, thanks to the advancement of technology and computing, we have seen it Los Stars They contain much more information.. We are not just talking about methods of measuring time and space. These little dots in the night sky Can give us a tour of its origins universe. More specifically, do Formation of new stars.

There is a team of astronomers from the University of Vienna More than a million pictures were taken Several nearby star regions form a map of the sky, showing the evolution of these constellations over a five-year period. This celestial atlas It will allow researchers to understand how plants are born and behave Young stars.

The sky plays an important role for mankind, and in almost all religions, it is associated with the image of the gods. For example, in ancient sky maps, we can see deities associated with each constellation.

Thanks to this salutation to the stars, today, We have a lot of information about the sky that human civilizations have seen throughout history. however, All information from above is inaccessible to the human eye. We must bear in mind that The range of wavelengths we can see is very small (400nm to 700nm). Anything that happens below or above that threshold It is invisible to our eyes. This is the case with information that comes to us from events in the universe that take place thousands of light years away from Earth.

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For example, imagine that the light emitted by a distant star is in the form of an infinite spring traveling at the speed of light towards our retina. The distance between its loops remains constant during the trajectory. However, it has been so farThe expansion of the universe exerts a force in the opposite direction to its goal What will happen to this dock? Well, the distance between its spins expands because the two forces pull in opposite directions. If this spring were waves of light, We encounter visible light becoming infraredIt has a higher wavelength than what we can perceive with our eyes.

Recent advances in technology allow devices to have It is capable of capturing these waves and converting them into images. Using infrared light telescopes, astronomers have been able to probe the universe in recent years looking for new clues in the stars.

In this case, a team of researchers from the University of Vienna used the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) located at ESO’s Paranal Observatory (Chile). For five years, they studied the areas of Orion, Ophioco, Chameleon, Corona Astrina, and Lupus.. Five star clusters are close together. Moreover, they are less than 1,500 light-years from Earth and occupy a large area of ​​the sky.

With over a million images taken, The team succeeded in creating a vast infrared atlas of the celestial vault. In it, they were able to observe dark dust, bright clouds, newborn stars and the distant background stars of the Milky Way. Likewise, a mosaic of images Exposes young stars in the making, embedded in thick clouds of dust. Based on these data, researchers They hope to be able to decipher the complex puzzle involving the birth of a new star.

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Stars Formed within small particles of gas clouds and interstellar dust. If most of that material is concentrated in the same part of the cloud, Collapses under its own gravity, forming a new star.

It may seem simple to explain it this way, but There are many unknowns surrounding the birth of new stars. How many stars can be born from a single cloud? Why do some people have planets in orbit? How do they exit once the cloud is formed?

The studied areas were observed over several yearsThe data obtained will allow astronomers to better understand the motion of young stars.

Besides, These data will lay the foundation for future experiments with other telescopes., the Largest Telescope in Chile (ELT), etc. are still under construction. This telescope Scientists can probe individual stars as they form, allowing them to study specific regions with unprecedented precision..

Researchers hope that understanding the formation and evolution of stars This will help us better understand the origin and creation of the universe.

Don’t get it:

  • If we want to study the universe further, we need to look for wavelengths longer than those covered by the infrared. In this case, the microwave. In 1965 the so-called “microwave background radiation” was discovered, which is nothing more than signals reaching us from the “fringes” of the universe. This radiation is one of the tests of the Big Bang cosmological model.

Notes (MLA):

  • Stephen Meingast, et al., Views: Vista Star Formation Atlas. Astronomy and Astrophysics. 2023 10.1051/0004-6361/202245771


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