Hubble Space Telescope focuses on young stars | Trending Viral hub


Astronomers, using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, have collected information on almost 500 stars as part of the Ultraviolet Legacy Young Star Library Survey as Essential Standards (ULLYSES).

This Hubble image of a star-forming region containing young, massive blue stars in the Tarantula Nebula.  Image credit: NASA / ESA / STScI / Francesco Paresce, INAF-IASF Bologna / Robert O'Connell, UVA / SOC-WFC3 / ESO.

This Hubble image of a star-forming region containing young, massive blue stars in the Tarantula Nebula. Image credit: NASA / ESA / STScI / Francesco Paresce, INAF-IASF Bologna / Robert O’Connell, UVA / SOC-WFC3 / ESO.

“I believe that the ULLYSES project will be transformative and will have an impact on astrophysics in general, from exoplanets to the effects of massive stars on the evolution of galaxies and the understanding of the early stages of the evolution of the Universe,” said the ULLYSES implementation team leader, Dr. Julia Roman-Duval. astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

“Apart from the specific objectives of the study, stellar data can also be used in fields of astrophysics in ways we cannot yet imagine.”

Dr. Roman-Duval and her colleagues studied 220 stars and then combined those observations with information from the Hubble archive on an additional 275 stars.

The study also included data from some of the world’s largest and most powerful ground-based and space-based X-ray telescopes.

The ULLYSES data set is composed of stellar spectra, which contain information about the temperature, chemical composition and rotation of each star.

One type of stars studied under ULLYSES are massive, super-hot blue stars.

They are a million times brighter than the Sun and shine brightly in ultraviolet light that Hubble can easily detect. Its spectra include key diagnostics of the speed of its powerful winds.

Winds drive the evolution of galaxies and seed them with the elements necessary for life. Those elements are cooked inside stars’ nuclear fusion furnaces and then injected into space when the star dies.

ULLYSES targeted blue stars in nearby galaxies that are deficient in elements heavier than helium and hydrogen.

“The ULLYSES observations are a springboard to understanding those first stars and their winds in the Universe, and how they impact the evolution of their young host galaxy,” said Dr. Roman-Duval.

The other category of stars in the ULLYSES study are young stars less massive than our Sun.

Although they are cooler and redder than our Sun, in their formative years they unleash a torrent of high-energy radiation, including bursts of ultraviolet light and X-rays.

Because they are still growing, they are collecting material from the disks of dust and gas that surround them and form planets.

Hubble’s spectra include key diagnostics of the process by which they acquire their mass, including the amount of energy this process releases into the surrounding planet-forming disk and nearby environment.

The scorching ultraviolet light from young stars affects the evolution of these disks as they form planets, as well as the habitability of newborn planets.

The target stars are located in nearby star-forming regions in our Milky Way Galaxy.

The ULLYSES concept was designed by a committee of experts with the goal of using Hubble to provide a legacy set of stellar observations.

“ULLYSES was originally conceived as an observing program using Hubble’s sensitive spectrographs,” said Dr. Roman-Duval.

“However, the survey was greatly enhanced by coordinated and ancillary community-led observations with other ground-based and space-based observatories.”

“Such broad coverage allows astronomers to investigate the lives of stars in unprecedented detail and paint a more complete picture of the properties of these stars and how they impact their environment.”


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