When massive stars – many times more than our Sun- born, they shine hot and bright, before eventually explode as supernovae. They produce so much energy that they can influence the evolution of galaxies. But unlike stars, like our Sun, astronomers know much less about how these huge stars form.
"Massive stars, as it is less than one percent of all the stars, but they can influence the formation of their star brothers and sisters," said Jim De Buizer, Universities Space Research Association senior fellow at the Scientific Center of Sofia. "Stars like our sun, have a much more quiet and humble roots, and because there are so many of them, we understand their properties birth more carefully."
To find out more, the researchers used a stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy, or Sofia to study the giant clouds of heaven, called W51. Located about 17 thousand light years, and primarily of hydrogen, it is a place where rare, giant stars are formed. But they are born deep within the clouds, invisible to the light our eyes can see. Use sof & # 39; and air telescope and infrared sensitive camera, a research group looked inside dense cloud. They have captured space light show lit shaping the stars, including a lot of things that have never been seen before.
Infrared camera, called weakly Object Infrared Camera for the Sofia Telescope, or projected, is sensitive detectors and powerful zoom, allowing researchers to detect the huge stars just after they were born. Learning how massive stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way is helping scientists understand how these stars formed in distant galaxies that are too far away to see the details.
"This is the best resolution currently available with wavelengths of infrared light," said Wanggi Lim, Universities Space Research Association Researcher Sofia center. "This is not only to identify the areas that we could not see before, but it is very important for the understanding of the physical properties and the relative age of the stars and their parent clouds."
Researchers on the & # 39; SOFIA pooled data from the data Spitzer Space Telescope and NASA's Herschel Space Observatory to analyze the stars. They found that while they are all young, some of them are more developed and others are the youngest, most recently by the stars in the cloud. One can be extremely large – estimated to have an equivalent weight of 100 sun. If future observations confirm this is really one huge star, and not a few stellar brothers and sisters gathered together, it will be one of the most massive stars form in our galaxy.
These are the first results of a survey that show how the young, massive stars are illuminating the other parts of our galaxy the Milky Way.
Sofia stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy, with 39 & # Boeing 747SP liner is modified to carry a telescope with a diameter of 106-inch screen. This is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center DLR. Research Center NASA Ames in Silicon Valley in California, manages the program, science and mission operations SOFIA in collaboration with universities Space Research Association, headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, and SOFIA German Institute (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart. The aircraft is maintained and operated by NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center Hangar 703 in Palmdale, California.
Publication :. Yichen Zhang et al "Dynamics of a massive binary birth," Nature Astronomy (2019)