"Impossible" Star seen by Euro space telescope
2010-05-14 0:00

From: Space.com

A vast hole in space has been unexpectedly discovered in a part of the universe thought to be packed with a cloud of dense gas and dust the latest in a string of cosmic finds by the European Herschel infrared space telescope.

The surprising hole in space has provided astronomers with a new glimpse at the end of the star-forming process.

"No one has ever seen a hole like this," said study team member Tom Megeath of the University of Toledo in Ohio. "Its as surprising as knowing you have worms tunneling under your lawn, but finding one morning that they have created a huge, yawning pit."


NGC 1999 is the green tinged cloud towards the top of the image. The dark spot to the right was thought to be a cloud of dense dust and gas until Herschel looked at it. It is in fact a hole that has been blown in the side of NGC 1999 by the jets and winds of gas from the young stellar objects in this region of space.
Credit: ESA/HOPS Consortium



Cloud associated with the Rosette Nebula, a stellar nursery about 5,000 light-years from Earth. The formation of new stars in galaxies like the Milky Way has declined five-fold in the last three billion years, initial findings of the European Space Agencys Herschel telescope showed. Photo:/AFP

Stars are born in dense clouds of dust and gas, and while jets of gas have been spotted coming from young stars, the process of how a star uses this gas to disperse surrounding debris and emerge from its birth cloud has not been understood.

This latest discovery by Herschel, an infrared space telescope built by the European Space Agency, may be an unexpected step in the star-forming process.

A cloud of bright, reflective gas, known to astronomers as NGC 1999, is located next to a black patch of sky. For most of the 20th century, these black patches were understood to be dense clouds of dust and gas that block light that would normally pass through.

As Herschels infrared eye looked in the direction of NGC 1999 to study nearby young stars, the cloud continued to look black, even though the telescopes infrared technology is designed to penetrate through such dense cloud material. This meant that either the cloud was immensely dense, or Herschel had happened upon a previously unexplained phenomenon.

Astronomers continued their investigation using ground-based telescopes and found the same results when looking at the patch of gas. This led to the conclusion that the patch looks black not because it is an extremely dense pocket of gas, but because it is truly empty something had blown a hole through the cloud.

The astronomers think the hole must have been opened when the narrow jets of gas from some of the young stars in the region punctured the sheet of dust and gas that forms NGC 1999. The powerful radiation from a nearby mature star may have also helped to create the hole, researchers said.

Whatever the exact cause of the hole may be, the discovery may be an important glimpse into the way newborn stars shake off their birth clouds that helps astronomers develop a better understanding of the entire star-forming process, researchers said.

Herschel is the largest and most powerful infrared telescope in space today. The European Space Agency launched the observatory into orbit in May 2009.


Article from: Space.com

Herschel space telescope (2007)

Video from: YouTube.com



Related Articles
Vatican tied Mount Graham Observatory launches LUCIFER Telescope
Location chosen for European "Extremely Large Telescope"
Spacewalking Astronauts Seen With a Backyard Telescope (Video)
Robots in space: Navy will send bots to build lunar telescope
What space telescopes of tomorrow will see
"Red Square" Captured by Palomar and Keck Telescopes in the constellation Serpens
Search on for Death Star that throws out deadly comets
Lucus - The Destroyer Star & The Future of Mankind
Astronomers catch a shooting star for first time


Latest News from our Front Page

No Jab, No Pay reforms: Religious exemptions for vaccination dumped
2015-04-20 20:03
Religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations will be scrapped to toughen Australia’s new “no jab, no pay’’ laws stripping welfare from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Social Services Minister Scott Morrison revealed he is dumping the last remaining exemption on the books after holding talks with religious leaders. Just a week after The Sunday Telegraph revealed Mr Morrison was scrapping exemptions ...
Inside David Lynch: An Esoteric Guide to Twin Peaks
2015-04-20 18:24
‘I learned that just beneath the surface there’s another world, and still different worlds as you dig deeper.’ – David Lynch If you’ve ever sensed the flimsy, thin veneer of what parades itself as the good ole US of A, and felt a bit like you’ve been sold a fake, then David Lynch’s Twin Peaks is a series you must see. ...
Third-gender toilet sign – now a reality in Sweden
2015-04-20 18:29
If you don’t identify yourself as a man, a woman or are officially handicapped — where should you go to relieve yourself? In Sweden, the social justice warriors have solved the problem by inventing a third-gender toilet sign. A couple of years ago, the Swedish language was introduced to a new personal pronoun, “hen“, to replace gender specific hon (she) and ...
Feminist goes crazy when compared to Swedish nationalist
2015-04-20 4:56
A picture of a media acclaimed feminist next to a young nationalist girl got real big attention in Swedish media last week. It is “hate” and “mockery” to show the difference between the two, according to the collective Swedish press. When the young nationalist Hanna Lindholm (member of the Sweden Democratic Youth) published a picture on internet, where she compared ...
Massive pollution scandal in Norwegian fjord
2015-04-20 4:53
The Norwegian government today gave the green light to one of the biggest single instances of pollution in the country's history. A new mine will dump its toxic tailings directly into the Førde fjord in the west of Norway. "It is shocking that Norway is the only country in the world allow new projects of this kind", said Lars Haltbrekken of ...
More News »