This stellar nurseries atlas was from over one million images stitched together

May 12, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

This stellar nurseries atlas was from over one million images stitched together

May 12, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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While scientists know some facts about the stars’ birth, there are still many details that they don’t yet fully understand. There are some questions still unanswered, such as how many stars are born out of each gas cloud, how big they are, and how to know which of them will also have planets.

In an attempt to answer these questions, scientists surveyed five nearby star-forming regions, creating a zoomable atlas stitched out of more than one million images! It helps to answer important questions astronomers have about star formation and lets everyone explore magical places where the stars are born.

[Related reading: James Webb’s recent image recreates the “crime scene” of a star’s death]

To create this incredible stellar nursery map, Meingast’s team used ESO’s VISTA telescope at Paranal Observatory in Chile. Since stars are formed in thick clouds of dust, the team used VISTA’s infrared camera VIRCAM to capture the light coming from deep inside the dust clouds. “The dust obscures these young stars from our view, making them virtually invisible to our eyes,” explains Alena Rottensteiner, a PhD student also at the University of Vienna and co-author of the study. “Only at infrared wavelengths can we look deep into these clouds, studying the stars in the making.”

To create the VISIONS survey, the team observed star-forming regions in the constellations of Orion, Ophiuchus, Chamaeleon, Corona Australis, and Lupus. They spent five whole years collecting over a million images, and they used them all to create these amazing panoramic views. They show everything from dark dust to newly formed stars, and it feels as if you’re right there in the middle of the Milky Way! The atlas shows areas in the sky that are less than 1500 light-years away. VIRCAM can map these large areas easily because it has a wide field of view, equivalent to three full Moons.

Take a look at some details below, and make sure to explore the zoomable version of this magnificent atlas on this link.

This image shows the L1688 region in the Ophiuchus constellation.
Credit: ESO/Meingast et al.
A star-forming region around the Coronet star cluster, in the Corona Australis constellation.
Credit: ESO/Meingast et al.
This dense cloud is a star-forming region called Lupus 3, where dazzlingly hot stars are born from collapsing masses of gas and dust.
Credit: ESO/Meingast et al.
This image shows the environment around the L1688 star-forming region in visible light. This area, located in the Ophiuchus constellation, features prominent dark lanes and glowing nebulae.
Credit: ESO/Meingast et al.
This image shows the regions around the Coronet star cluster in the Corona Australis constellation.
Credit: ESO/Meingast et al.
This image shows the region Lupus 2. New stars are born in the colourful clouds of gas and dust seen here.
Credit: ESO/Meingast et al.
This image shows the region Lupus 3.
Credit: ESO/Meingast et al.
This image shows the HH 909 A object in the Chamaeleon constellation.
Credit: ESO/Meingast et al.

[via Digital Trends]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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