Nav: Home

Hubble shows the local Universe in ultraviolet

May 17, 2018

Using the unparalleled sharpness and ultraviolet observational capabilities of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers has created the most comprehensive high-resolution ultraviolet-light survey of star-forming galaxies in the local Universe. The catalogue contains about 8000 clusters and 39 million hot blue stars.

Ultraviolet light is a major tracer of the youngest and hottest stars. These stars are short-lived and intensely bright. Astronomers have now finished a survey called LEGUS (Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey) that captured the details of 50 local galaxies within 60 million light-years of Earth in both visible and ultraviolet light.

The LEGUS team carefully selected its targets from among 500 candidate galaxies compiled from ground-based surveys. They chose the galaxies based on their mass, star-formation rate, and their abundances of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. Because of the proximity of the selected galaxies, Hubble was able to resolve them into their main components: stars and star clusters. With the LEGUS data, the team created a catalogue with about 8000 young clusters and it also created a star catalogue comprising about 39 million stars that are at least five times more massive than our Sun.

The data, gathered with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys, provide detailed information on young, massive stars and star clusters, and how their environment affects their development. As such, the catalogue offers an extensive resource for understanding the complexities of star formation and galaxy evolution.

One of the key questions the survey may help astronomers answer is the connection between star formation and the major structures, such as spiral arms, that make up a galaxy. These structured distributions are particularly visible in the youngest stellar populations.

By resolving the fine details of the studied galaxies, while also studying the connection to larger galactic structures, the team aims to identify the physical mechanisms behind the observed distribution of stellar populations within galaxies.

Figuring out the final link between gas and star formation is key to fully understanding galaxy evolution. Astronomers are studying this link by looking at the effects of the environment on star clusters, and how their survival is linked to their surroundings.

LEGUS will not only allow astronomers to understand the local Universe. It will also help interpret views of distant galaxies, where the ultraviolet light from young stars is stretched to infrared wavelengths due to the expansion of space. The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope and its ability to observe in the far infrared will complement the LEGUS views.
-end-
More information

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, LEGUS team

Links

Contacts

Linda Smith
European Space Agency
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Tel: 001 4103384926
Email: lsmith@stsci.edu

Mathias Jäger
ESA/Hubble, Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Cell: +49 176 62397500
Email: mjaeger@partner.eso.org

ESA/Hubble Information Centre

Related Star Formation Articles:

Star's birth may have triggered another star birth, astronomers say
Radio images give new evidence that a jet of material from one young star may have triggered the gas collapse that started another young star.
Organic compound found in early stages of star formation
Scientists seeking to understand the origins of life have found a new organic compound in the material from which a star like the Sun is forming.
Speeding star gives new clues to breakup of multi-star system
Three stars have been discovered that now hold the record as the youngest-known examples of a super-fast star category.
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
Pushing the limits of the largest single-aperture millimeter telescope in the world, and coupling it with gravitational lensing, University of Massachusetts Amherst astronomer Alexandra Pope and colleagues report that they have detected a surprising rate of star formation, four times higher than previously detected, in a dust-obscured galaxy behind a Frontier Fields cluster.
Hubble discovery of runaway star yields clues to breakup of multiple-star system
A gravitational tussle, ended with a multi-star system breaking apart and at least three stars being ejected in different directions.
Cosmic environments and their influence in star formation
In a joint collaboration between the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Riverside, astronomers have performed an extensive study of the properties of galaxies within filaments formed at different times during the age of the universe.
Investigating star formation is UMass Amherst researcher's mission
University of Massachusetts Amherst astrophysicist Stella Offner, who has received a five-year, $429,000 faculty early career development (CAREER) grant from National Science Foundation (NSF), plans to use it not only to study how stars are born, but also to develop interactive online astronomy 'tours' to enhance K-12 science education in local schools.
Black-hole-powered jets forge fuel for star formation
Astronomers using ALMA have discovered a surprising connection between a supermassive black hole and the galaxy where it resides.
Rings around young star suggest planet formation in progress
Rice University astronomers and their international colleagues have for the first time mapped gases in three dark rings around a distant star with the powerful ALMA radio telescope.
New evidence on the formation of the solar system
International research involving a Monash University scientist is using new computer models and evidence from meteorites to show that a low-mass supernova triggered the formation of our solar system.

Related Star Formation Reading:

Star Formation (World Scientific Series in Astrophysics)
by MARK R KRUMHOLZ (Author)

An Introduction to Star Formation
by Derek Ward-Thompson (Author)

Principles of Star Formation (Astronomy and Astrophysics Library)
by Peter Bodenheimer (Author)

The Pillars of Creation: Giant Molecular Clouds, Star Formation, and Cosmic Recycling (Springer Praxis Books)
by Martin Beech (Author)

Introduction to Astrochemistry: Chemical Evolution from Interstellar Clouds to Star and Planet Formation (Astronomy and Astrophysics Library)
by Satoshi Yamamoto (Author)

Stars. How are stars formed? : How the first stars were born? (The formation of stars )

The Formation and Early Evolution of Stars: From Dust to Stars and Planets (Astronomy and Astrophysics Library)
by Springer

Introducing the Stars: Formation, Structure and Evolution (Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics)
by Martin Beech (Author)

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
by James Clear (Author)

From Dust To Stars: Studies of the Formation and Early Evolution of Stars (Springer Praxis Books / Astronomy and Planetary Sciences)
by Norbert S. Schulz (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Approaching With Kindness
We often forget to say the words "thank you." But can those two words change how you — and those around you — look at the world? This hour, TED speakers on the power of gratitude and appreciation. Guests include author AJ Jacobs, author and former baseball player Mike Robbins, Dr. Laura Trice, Professor of Management Christine Porath, and former Danish politician Özlem Cekic.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#509 Anisogamy: The Beginning of Male and Female
This week we discuss how the sperm and egg came to be, and how a difference of reproductive interest has led to sexual conflict in bed bugs. We'll be speaking with Dr. Geoff Parker, an evolutionary biologist credited with developing a theory to explain the evolution of two sexes, about anisogamy, sexual reproduction through the fusion of two different gametes: the egg and the sperm. Then we'll speak with Dr. Roberto Pereira, research scientist in urban entomology at the University of Florida, about traumatic insemination in bed bugs.