Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, General Astronomy, Stars > Discovery Of A Blue Supergiant Star Born In The Wild

Discovery Of A Blue Supergiant Star Born In The Wild


A duo of astronomers, Dr. Youichi Ohyama (Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Academia Sinica or ASIAA, Taiwan) and Dr. Ananda Hota (UM-DAE Centre for Excellence in the Basic Sciences or CBS, India), has discovered a blue supergiant star located far beyond our Milky Way Galaxy in the constellation Virgo (Figure). Over fifty-five million years ago, the star emerged in an extremely wild environment: within the long trail of gas stripped from galaxy IC 3418 as it sped rapidly into the Virgo cluster and interacted with the hot plasma of the surrounding intra-cluster medium. Research using the Subaru Telescope, the Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope (CFHT) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) revealed unprecedented views of the star formation process in this particular intergalactic context and showed the promise of future investigations of a possibly new mode of star formation, unlike that within our Milky Way.

About one thousand galaxies reside in a cluster filled with million-degree hot plasma and dark matter. The Virgo cluster, the nearest cluster of galaxies located about 55 million light years from Earth in the constellation Virgo, is an ideal laboratory to study the fate of gas stripped from the main body of galaxies falling into the intra-cluster medium. Does star formation take place in the clouds of stripped gas? If so, how? Dr. Ohyama and Dr. Hota focused on the trail of IC 3418 to explore a potentially new mode of star formation. Dr. Hota has been collecting data from multiple telescopes since 2006 to understand this galaxy, which he first spotted in the GALEX data during his Ph.D. research.

Full Story: http://www.naoj.org/Pressrelease/2013/04/10/index.html

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