Feeds

Big stars give birth to little stars in new WISE pic

Telescope provides evidence for secondary star formation

Build a business case: developing custom apps

NASA's WISE space telescope has stitched together a panoramic view of the Milky Way where stars are born.

A section of the Milky Way

WISE mosaic of a section of the Milky Way. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) scope has taken a 1,000-square-degree shot of a stretch of cosmic clouds that regularly form new stars.

"Massive stars sweep up and destroy their natal clouds, but they continuously spark new stars to form along the way," said WISE mission scientist Dave Leisawitz, who co-authored a paper reporting the results in the Astrophysical Journal.

"Occasionally a new, massive star forms, perpetuating the sequence of events and giving rise to the dazzling fireworks display seen in this WISE mosaic."

As well as making a pretty picture, the image was one of many taken by WISE that have helped star-gazing boffins to provide evidence for 'triggered star formation', where winds and radiation from massive stars compress gas and dust, creating a second generation of stars.

This process hasn't been easy to pin down, since the astronomers usually only have a few pictures from the lifecycle of any one star - like having a photo of a person as a baby, a pre-pubescent and a grown-up. From these snapshots, the boffins have to try to figure out how the star changes and grows.

"Each region we looked at gave us a single snapshot of star formation in progress," said Xavier Koenig, the lead author of the new study. "But when we look at a whole collection of regions, we can piece together the chain of events."

The WISE telescope mapped the entire sky twice in infrared light, completing its survey in February 2011. This image is a mosaic of thousands of snaps of the region around constellations Cassiopeia and Cepheus reassembled by collating 442 interlocking tiles. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.