The stunning pictures of the relatively small and well-hidden galactic features are the result of painstaking work in which the Milky Way was scoured by a giant infrared telescope.
Open star clusters are the building blocks of galaxies, formed by groups of usually less than a hundred larger stars.
Open clusters are generally very young compared to galaxies, and usually break apart after just a few tens of millions of years. Globular clusters, by comparison, are extremely bright and can contain many hundreds of thousands of stars.
Some open clusters, such as the Pleiades, can be seen with the naked eye. Others, which form in very dusty regions of galaxies, in which visible light is diffused, are more difficult to find.
Even in our own galaxy only 2,500 open star clusters have ever been found. Scientists estimate that there could be up to 30,000 more open clusters in our galaxy waiting to be discovered.
The formations were found using the 4.1m VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, which is one of the most advanced telescopes in the world.
“In order to trace the youngest star cluster formation we concentrated our search towards known star-forming areas. In regions that looked empty in previous visible-light surveys, the sensitive VISTA infrared detectors uncovered many new objects,” adds Dante Minniti, who is a lead scientist of the the VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea programme.
Since 2010 the VVV programme has been scanning the Milky Way in infrared.
Scientists hope that by honing the techniques used to find the stunning array of open clusters they will be able to find many more, and use that data to help explain the formation of galaxies.
- To Catch A Predator Host Nailed: Chris Hansen Caught Cheating On Wife By Hidden Camera
- NFL Star arrested for DUI
- Daniel Bobis, U.S. Surfer, Body Discovered By Indonesian Fisherman
- A 15-year-old boy has died following a collision with a vehicle carrying basketball star Lamar Odom.
- New Clues Shed Light On What Killed The Dinosaurs
There are no comments yet. Why not be the first to speak your mind.