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Hubble Space Telescope has realized some new amazing and astonishing photos of nearby galaxies. It was realized by a project that is called “Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS)”. The data provides detailed information on young, massive stars and star clusters, and how their environment affects their development.
NASA astronomers have studied 50 spiral and dwarf galaxies in our nearby universe using new and old Hubble observations.
The objective of the project was to detect star formation in these galaxies, and locate clusters of stars. This has allowed the researchers to draw up catalogs of the stars and clusters in 30 of the galaxies.
“There has never before been a star cluster and a stellar catalog that included observations in ultraviolet light,” survey leader Daniela Calzetti from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, said in a statement.
“Ultraviolet light is a major tracer of the youngest and hottest star populations, which astronomers need to derive the ages of stars and get a complete stellar history. The synergy of the two catalogs combined offers an unprecedented potential for understanding star formation.”
The star clusters they observed in the galaxies have ages from 1 million to 500 million years, giving them a broad spectrum of stellar history. In general, this catalog contains a whopping 8,000 star clusters, and 39 million hot blue stars – ones that are at least five times the mass of our Sun. Team members chose the galaxies based on their mass, star-formation rate, and abundances of elements that are heavier than hydrogen and helium. The catalog of ultraviolet objects collected by NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spacecraft also helped lay the path for the Hubble study.
The Hubble Space Telescope data provides all of the information to analyze these galaxies, the researchers explained. “We also are offering computer models to help astronomers interpret the data in the star and cluster catalogs,” Sabbi said. “Researchers, for example, can investigate how star formation occurred in one specific galaxy or a set of galaxies. They can correlate the properties of the galaxies with their star formation. They can derive the star-formation history of the galaxies. The ultraviolet-light images may also help astronomers identify the progenitor stars of supernovas found in the data.”
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