Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, General Astronomy, Stars > NOAO: Star Birth In Cepheus

NOAO: Star Birth In Cepheus


Credit: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), T. Allen (University of Toledo) and WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Credit: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), T. Allen (University of Toledo) and WIYN/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Watching starbirth isn’t easy: tens of millions of years are needed to form a star like our Sun. Much like archeologists who reconstruct ancient cities from shards of debris strewn over time, astronomers must reconstruct the birth process of stars indirectly, by observing stars in different stages of the process and inferring the changes that take place. Studies show that half of the common stars, including our Sun, formed in massive clusters, rich with young stars, from which they eventually escape. As part of his PhD thesis work, Thomas Allen, University of Toledo, has been observing such a region where stars are forming.

Named Cep OB3b, this cluster is located in the northern constellation of Cepheus, and is similar in some ways to the famous cluster found in the Orion Nebula. But unlike the Orion Nebula, there is relatively little dust and gas obscuring our view of Cep OB3b. Its massive, hot stars have blown out cavities in the gaseous cloud with their intense ultraviolet radiation which mercilessly destroys everything in its path. Cep OB3b may show us what the Orion Nebular Cluster will look like in the future.

Full Story: http://www.noao.edu/news/2013/pr1303.php

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