Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Cluster's Advanced Age in Razor-Sharp Focus
by Staff Writers
Hilo, HI (SPX) Oct 28, 2016


Gemini Observatory GeMS image of NGC 6624 revealing individual stars to the cluster's core. The Cluster's age as determined with this study is between 11.5-12.5 billion years old, which confirms that it formed when the Universe was only a fraction of its current age of about 13.8 billion years. Composite color image by Travis Rector, University of Alaska Anchorage. Image courtesy Gemini Observatory/AURA. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Researchers using advanced adaptive optics technology at the Gemini South telescope in Chile probed the depths of the highly compact globular cluster NGC 6624, revealing pinpoint images of thousands of stars.

The sharpness of the near-infrared images is competitive with that obtained from space with the Hubble Space Telescope in optical light. "With images this sharp, astronomers can do things that we never dreamed were possible from the ground," says team member Douglas Geisler of the University of Concepcion in Chile.

The team obtained the imaging data using two filters that are sensitive to specific wavelength bands of near-infrared light, then plotted them on a color-magnitude diagram - a technique that reveals details about the evolutionary history of the cluster's stars.

According to the result's first author Sara Saracino from the University of Bologna, this is the most accurate, and deepest, near-infrared color-magnitude diagram ever produced of this cluster and indeed perhaps the best-ever made for any bulge cluster.

The observations provide a clear detection of the so-called "main-sequence knee," a distinctive bend in the evolutionary track of low mass main-sequence stars (those that burn hydrogen into helium at their cores).

This feature is extremely faint and therefore difficult to detect, requiring very precise photometry (measuring the brightness of individual stars). Photometry is generally a problem with most adaptive optics data.

This is the first time the main-sequence knee has been identified in this globular cluster. "Analysis of these razor-sharp images, and the very deep color-magnitude diagram, allows us to determine the age of the cluster to extremely high precision," says Saracino.

In turn, this helps to better understand the formation and evolution of our Milky Way bulge, which may well be the oldest component of the galaxy. The new Gemini data reveal that the age of NGC 6624 is between 11.5 and 12.5 billion years old, almost as old as the universe itself - estimated to be about 13.8 billion years old.

NGC 6624 is also interesting because it is classified as what astronomers call a post-core collapse cluster, meaning that this is a highly evolved system. The high quality of the data also allowed the researchers to perform a detailed study of the distribution of main-sequence stars of different masses outward from the center.

As expected for such a highly evolved system, the team found evidence of a significant increase in low-mass stars at increasing distances from the cluster center.

This study is part of a much larger research program aimed at shedding new light on the still debated processes that formed the Milky Way's bulge using its globular cluster population.

Due to the large amount of absorption by material between the stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, detailed studies of bulge globular clusters have been severely hampered until now. Geisler notes that the advent of the GeMS instrument now allows astronomers to penetrate the dust and study these clusters in the great detail they deserve.

"It will certainly continue to provide us with very important clues about how our galaxy formed and evolved," he says.

The Gemini Multi-conjugate adaptive optics System (GeMS), combined with the Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI), delivers near diffraction-limited images of near-infrared light (0.9-2.5 microns), over a field nearly as large as the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

Using five artificial laser guide stars, and up to three natural guide stars, GeMS/GSAOI can correct for atmospheric turbulence at an unprecedented level, making it the most powerful wide-field adaptive optics system currently available to astronomers.

The results of this research will be published in the Astrophysical Journal


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Gemini Observatory
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Who stole all the stars
Melbourne, Australia (SPX) Oct 14, 2016
Investigating the millions of missing stars from the centres - or cores - of two big galaxies, astronomers at Swinburne University of Technology say they may have solved this cosmic whodunit, and the main culprits are not the usual suspects. While the scientists confirm that one of the depleted cores is the largest ever detected, they report that it may not have formed in the manner previo ... read more


STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Russia to Allocate $1.5Bln to Federal Space Program in 2017 - Draft Budget Plan

US, Russian, Japanese astronauts return from ISS

New lettuce crop begins growing aboard ISS

Reaching for the stars: Latin America's emerging space powers

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
SpaceX zeroes in on helium containers for rocket explosion

SpaceX Aims to Resume Falcon 9 Flights in 2016, Blames Helium Tank for Explosion

Proven engine packs big, in-space punch for Space Launch System

Boosting Europe's all-electric satellites

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Detailed images of Schiaparelli and its descent hardware on Mars

Cursed not, Difficult yes

Did it crash or land? Search on for Europe's Mars craft

Rover Conducting Science Investigations at 'Spirit Mount'

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
US, China hold second meeting on advancing space cooperation

China to enhance space capabilities with launch of Shenzhou-11

Ambitious space satellite projects set for liftoff

China's permanent station plans ride on mission

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Airbus DS contracts with Intelsat General for European Defence Communications

Final exams prepare Thomas Pesquet for launch

Airbus DS in partnership with Orbital ATK to build EUTELSAT 5 West B

Third party satellite launch order bookings for Isro stands at $42 million

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
You can now print your own 3D model of the universe

Spacecraft operation for the next generation

Terma radar for Royal Malaysian Navy

Space-based droplet dynamics lessons

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Preferentially Earth-sized Planets with Lots of Water

Potential new hunting ground for exoplanets discovered

Cloudy Nights, Sunny Days on Distant Hot Jupiters

Discovery of binary-binary calls solar system formation into question

STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Last Bits of 2015 Pluto Flyby Data Received on Earth

Uranus may have two undiscovered moons

Possible Clouds on Pluto, Next Target is Reddish

Curious tilt of the Sun traced to undiscovered planet




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement