Trumpler 14: Bright young stars mix it up in new image

August 31, 2005
Trumpler 14: Bright young stars mix it up in new image

Today the Chandra X-ray Observatory released an image from a research group led by Leisa Townsley of the Penn State Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The image of the star cluster Trumpler 14 shows about 1,600 stars and a diffuse glow from hot multimillion degree X-ray producing gas. The cluster has one of the highest concentrations of massive, luminous stars in the galaxy. Located on the edge of a giant molecular cloud, it is part of the Carina Complex which contains at least eight star clusters.

Image: Young stars have a profound influence on their environment. Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn State/L.Townsley et al.

The bright stars in Trumpler 14 are young (about 1 million years old), and much more massive than the sun. They will shine brightly, exhaust their prodigious energy and explode spectacularly as supernovas in a few million years.

In the meantime, the young, massive stars have a profound influence on their environment through the ionizing effects of their light, and the high-speed winds of particles that are pushed away from their surfaces by the intense radiation. Shock waves that develop in these winds can heat gas to millions of degrees Celsius and produce intense X-ray sources. In the accompanying image, the bright white source in the center of the image has been resolved to reveal several massive stars.

On a larger scale, stellar winds can carve out cavities in the clouds of gas and dust that surround the stars, and trigger the formation of new stars. These cavities are filled with million-degree gas that produce the diffuse X-ray glow in the image.

The glow in the lower, rectangular part of the image (the gap between the upper and lower portions of the image is an instrumental artifact) is from a gas cloud that has been enriched with oxygen, neon, silicon and iron. This probably marks the final contribution of a once-bright star that exploded as a supernova thousands of years ago, and in the process dispersed these heavy elements into the interstellar medium.

Source: Penn State

Explore further: Aging star's weight loss secret revealed

Related Stories

Aging star's weight loss secret revealed

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope has captured the most detailed images ever of the hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris. These observations show how the unexpectedly large size of the particles of dust surrounding ...

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

November 25, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky ...

Inferring the star formation rates of galaxies

November 23, 2015

Our Milky Way galaxy produces on average a few new stars every year across the entire system. Massive young stars emit large amounts of ultraviolet radiation which heats the local dust, and so the star formation process results ...

Recommended for you

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle

November 25, 2015

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act ...

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

A blue, neptune-size exoplanet around a red dwarf star

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.