Sometimes at CNET Science we go too deep to explain the wonders of the universe –And the And the Other times we simply stare at images of distant galaxies and sit in stunned silence.
This is one of the last times.
On Friday, European Southern Observatory Released new photos Among the nearby galaxies captured by two ground-based telescopes in Chile, the “Very Large Telescope” and the Atacama Large Millimeter/ Submillimeter Array, and NASA’s Hubble Telescope ( ). The observatory describes the images as “cosmic fireworks,” but let’s stop and think about these fireworks for a few moments because they are so much more than that.
Every little spot of light is a little star. There are thousands upon thousands of them in every image, along with ethereal regions of gas – the gas that gives rise to more fledgling furnaces, ready to burn for billions of years.
Far from being just pretty pictures, the observations help astronomers get a better understanding of how stars form and evolve. Normally, gas and dust accumulate and clump together due to gravity. This cosmic cloud sees atoms smashing together, violently colliding until fusion reactions start the star’s engine and its eons-long combustion begins. ESO images provide a look at these different stages of a star’s life.
“We can directly observe the gas that generates stars, see the same young stars and witness their evolution through different stages,” Eric Emsellem, an astronomer at ESO in Germany, said in a press release.
Astronomers focused on nearby galaxies and used the Very Large Telescope to photograph gas and young stars. Then they superimposed ALMA images (which are good for capturing gas clouds) to create the amazing “fireworks” display. It could also help researchers unlock more mysteries of star birth.
While they have a good handle on the birth process, obtaining a variety of images of these nearby galaxies allows for more specific questions to be asked. For example, what kinds of places within a galaxy might we expect a star to form – and why?
The Illustrated Galaxies Catalog It’s getting bigger and bigger, and we’re only just beginning to understand how diverse these stellar nurseries are. This will be enhanced by new instruments, including the much-delayed James Webb Space Telescope, which will be able to image the universe in unprecedented detail. On Earth, ESO plans to bring the Very Large Telescope online later this decade.
So while astronomers are busy producing images, we’re just staring at the fruits of their labor – the hardest part is choosing which galaxy you like best.