Published on January 13th, 2012 | by James Johnson1
Scientists Discover Super Rare Ultra-Blue Stars In Andromeda Galaxy
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered some of the most beautiful, rare and unexplained events in our galaxy and this week researchers using the telescope found yet another discover, a super-rare, large population of hot, bright stars in our neighboring Andromeda galaxy.
While science teaches us that blue is usually the indicator for very young, very bright stars, researchers on this find have revealed that the stars are aging and the “sun-like” stars have prematurely cast off their outer layers of material to expose their blue-hot cores.
While researchers in the past have discovered the ultra-blue stars in the Andromeda galaxy this newest examination of the area shows that they are far more prominent then previously believed and are scattered throughout the galaxy’s center. Using Hubble astronomers discovered stars that are within 2,600 light-years of Andromeda’s core.
Research also uncovered that the ultra-blue Andromeda stars are more dim and have a range of surface temperatures “different from the extremely bright stars we see in the star-forming regions of Andromeda.”
Team member Leo Girardi of the National Institute for Astrophysics’s Astronomical Observatory of Padua told ScienceDaily:
“We caught these stars when they’re the brightest, just before they become white dwarfs,” said team member Leo Girardi of the National Institute for Astrophysics’s Astronomical Observatory of Padua. “It is likely that there are many other similarly hot stars in this central part of Andromeda at earlier stages of their lives. But such stars are too dim for Hubble to see because they’re mixed in with a crowd of normal stars.”
To discover the stars Astronomers took advantage of Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 to pinpoint approximately 8,000 of the ultra-blue stars in a stellar census made in ultraviolet light.
The research team’s results will be presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas. on January 11.