Hubble sees an unexpected population of young-looking stars

Nov 02, 2012
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

(Phys.org)—The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope offers an impressive view of the center of globular cluster NGC 6362. The image of this spherical collection of stars takes a deeper look at the core of the globular cluster, which contains a high concentration of stars with different colors.

Tightly bound by gravity, are composed of old stars, which, at around 10 billion years old, are much older than the sun. These clusters are fairly common, with more than 150 currently known in our galaxy, the Milky Way, and more which have been spotted in other galaxies.

Globular clusters are among the oldest structures in the Universe that are accessible to direct observational investigation, making them from the early years of the cosmos.

Astronomers infer important properties of globular clusters by looking at the light from their constituent stars. For many years, they were regarded as ideal laboratories for testing the standard stellar evolution theory. Among other things, this theory suggests that most of the stars within a globular cluster should be of a similar age.

Recently, however, high performed in numerous globular clusters, primarily with the , have led some to question this widely accepted theory. In particular, certain stars appear younger and bluer than their companions, and they have been dubbed . NGC 6362 contains many of these stars.

Since they are usually found in the core regions of clusters, where the concentration of stars is large, the most likely explanation for this unexpected population of objects seems to be that they could be either the result of stellar collisions or transfer of material between stars in . This influx of new material would heat up the star and make it appear younger than its neighbors.

NGC 6362 is located about 25 000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Ara (The Altar). British astronomer James Dunlop first observed this globular cluster on 30 June 1826.

This image was created combining ultraviolet, visual and infrared images taken with the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3. An image of NGC 6362 taken by the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope will be published by the European Southern Observatory on Wednesday.

Explore further: Smallest known galaxy with a supermassive black hole found

Related Stories

Stars ancient and modern?

Oct 31, 2012

(Phys.org)—This colourful view of the globular star cluster NGC 6362 was captured by the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. This new picture, ...

Hubble sees cosmic riches

Oct 07, 2012

(Phys.org)—This dazzling image shows the globular cluster Messier 69, or M 69 for short, as viewed through the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Globular clusters are dense collections of old stars. In this ...

Hubble captures a collection of ancient stars

Aug 27, 2012

(Phys.org)—The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced this beautiful image of the globular cluster Messier 56 (also known as M 56 or NGC 6779), which is located about 33,000 light years away from ...

Young stars at home in ancient cluster

Feb 09, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Looking like a hoard of gems fit for an emperor's collection, this deep sky object called NGC 6752 is in fact far more worthy of admiration. It is a globular cluster, and at over 10 billion ...

Hubble sees Messier 70: Tight and bright

Apr 13, 2012

(Phys.org) -- In this image, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the brilliance of the compact center of Messier 70, a globular cluster. Quarters are always tight in globular clusters, where the ...

A cluster with a secret

Sep 05, 2012

(Phys.org)—A new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile shows the spectacular globular star cluster Messier 4. This ball of tens of thousands of ancient stars is one of the closest and most studied ...

Recommended for you

Mystery of rare five-hour space explosion explained

Sep 17, 2014

Next week in St. Petersburg, Russia, scientists on an international team that includes Penn State University astronomers will present a paper that provides a simple explanation for mysterious ultra-long gamma-ray ...

Glowing galaxies in telescopic timelapse

Sep 17, 2014

We often speak of the discoveries and data flowing from astronomical observatories, which makes it easy to forget the cool factor. Think of it—huge telescopes are probing the universe under crystal-clear ...

Violent origins of disc galaxies probed by ALMA

Sep 17, 2014

For decades scientists have believed that galaxy mergers usually result in the formation of elliptical galaxies. Now, for the the first time, researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter ...

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tuxford
1 / 5 (8) Nov 02, 2012
More Blue Straggler news? Ah the confusion....Say it ain't so!

http://phys.org/n...ter.html

For a description of how these OLD blue stragglers form in dense regions of clusters under SubQuantum Kinectics physics, see my comments.

http://phys.org/n...ern.html
theon
1 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
We're not gonna give in, we just call them "young-looking" stars. Still, "young-being" stars may appear when a dark Jeans cluster merges with an existing globular cluster. The Jeans cluster's cold (and thus dark) clouds, aka MACHOs, can be warmed to grow and merge, and form new stars. The very same idea explains the disk of young stars near the Galactic center, while one of the MACHOs achieved to be released just towards the Galactic center, aka the earth mass cloud that heads towards the black hole there.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (4) Dec 19, 2012
And as I conjectured here, blues would be found near the core of our galaxy.

http://phys.org/n...ter.html

Blues in the bulge.

http://phys.org/n...ars.html

Using LaViolette's model, these kind of predictions are rather easy.

ValeriaT
1 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2012
Using LaViolette's model, these kind of predictions are rather easy
OK, try to reproduce this prediction for us here.. The mainstream physics scenarios invoked to explain this formation involve either star formation in a massive star cluster offset from the Galactic Center that would have migrated to its current location once formed, or star formation within a massive, compact gas accretion disk around the central black-hole. In which point the LaViolette's model describes these blue stars better?
Tuxford
1 / 5 (4) Dec 19, 2012
The Blues are formed from accelerated growth from within, though nucleation of new non-metallic matter, thereby appearing young in traditional models, though they may be of considerable age. Their growth rate is accelerated with their growing mass, and when located in a region of space containing many nearby massive objects, such as other stars in a dense cluster or massive gas clouds or near the supermassive galactic core star.

The globulars are likely formed near the galactic center, and migrate to the netherlands, growing all the while. The Blues form preferentially near the centers of the clusters for the same reasons.

Does this clear things up?

It just that modern models are backwards. No wonder so many are confused. A square peg will never fit in a round hole. Still, astronomers Bang Away, at the fantasy.