Pitch Black: Cosmic Clumps Cast the Darkest Shadows

Astrophysicists have detected cosmic clusters so dark, thick and dusty that they pitch the deepest shadows ever noted. Infrared interpretations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope of these blackest-of-black areas illogically light the way to understanding how the brightest stars form.

Image Credit: NASA

The clusters signify the darkest areas of a vast, cosmic cloud of gas and dust situated about 16,000 light-years away. A new study takes benefit of the shadows cast by these clusters to measure the cloud's structure and mass. The dusty cloud, results propose, will likely progress into one of the most gigantic young clusters of stars in our galaxy. The densest clusters will flourish into the clusters biggest, most dominant stars, called O-type stars, the creation of which has long confused scientists. These bulky stars have major influences on their local cosmological environments while also serving to generate the heavy elements needed for life. "The map of the structure of the cloud and its dense cores we have made in this study reveals a lot of fine details about the massive star and star cluster formation process," said Michael Butler, a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and main author of the study, issued in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Read more at Phys.org

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Pitch Black: Cosmic Clumps Cast the Darkest Shadows Pitch Black: Cosmic Clumps Cast the Darkest Shadows Reviewed by Umer Abrar on 5/22/2014 Rating: 5

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