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‘Elephant Trunks’ Crowd Distant Star Cluster, Raising New Questions About Stellar Formation

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NGC 3572 seen with a 2.2-meter telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. Credit: ESO/G. Beccari

Star winds are pushing the gas around NGC 3572 into “elephant trunks”, as you can see if you look carefully as this picture snapped by a La Silla Observatory telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. It’s a demonstration of the power of the youngster blue-white stars embedded in the cloud, which are generating huge gusts blowing the gas and dust away from them.

It’s common for young stars to form in groups. After a few million years growing together, their respective gravities pushes everything further apart, and the stars then finish their lifetimes on their own. Looking at young star clusters such as this gives astronomers a better sense about how our own Sun began its life.

If we zoomed closer to those elephant trunks, they would look similar to the famous “Pillars of Creation” image captured in 1995 by the Hubble Space Telescope in the Eagle Nebula (M16). NASA also did a follow-up observation using infrared wavelengths in 2005 and 2011, which made the young stars a bit easier to see amid the gas and dust.

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© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2013. |
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Post tags: eagle nebula, M16, NGC 3572, Pillars of Creation

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Source: http://www.universetoday.com/106504/elephant-trunks-crowd-distant-star-cluster-raising-new-questions-about-stellar-formation/


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