OmegaCAM — a wide-field visual camera on ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST) — has prisoner a spectacular Orion Nebula and a compared cluster of immature stars in good detail, producing a pleasing new image. This intent is one of a closest stellar nurseries for both low and high-mass stars, during a stretch of about 1350 light-years .
But this is some-more than usually a flattering picture. A group led by ESO astronomer Giacomo Beccari has used these information of unparallelled peculiarity to precisely magnitude a liughtness and colours of all a stars in a Orion Nebula Cluster. These measurements authorised a astronomers to establish a mass and ages of a stars. To their surprise, a information suggested 3 opposite sequences of potentially opposite ages.
“Looking during a information for a initial time was one of those ‘Wow!’ moments that occur usually once or twice in an astronomer’s lifetime,” says Beccari, lead author of a paper presenting a results. “The implausible peculiarity of a OmegaCAM images suggested but any doubt that we were saying 3 graphic populations of stars in a executive tools of Orion.”
Monika Petr-Gotzens, co-author and also shaped during ESO Garching, continues, “This is an critical result. What we are witnessing is that a stars of a cluster during a commencement of their lives didn’t form altogether simultaneously. This might meant that a bargain of how stars form in clusters needs to be modified.”
The astronomers looked delicately during a probability that instead of indicating opposite ages, a opposite brightnesses and colours of some of a stars were due to dark messenger stars, that would make a stars seem brighter and redder than they unequivocally were. But this suspicion would indicate utterly surprising properties of a pairs, that have never before been observed. Other measurements of a stars, such as their revolution speeds and spectra, also indicated that they contingency have opposite ages .
“Although we can't nonetheless rigourously oppose a probability that these stars are binaries, it seems most some-more healthy to accept that what we see are 3 generations of stars that shaped in succession, within reduction than 3 million years,” concludes Beccari.
The new formula strongly advise that star arrangement in a Orion Nebula Cluster is move in bursts, and some-more fast than had been formerly thought.
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