New open cluster discovered using Gaia | 5/29/2019 | Staff
chrismpotts (Posted by) Level 3
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Proper-motion vector diagram of the Gaia DR2 stars in a circle of 1 degree radius around β Lyrae. Credit: Bastian et al., 2019.

Using data from ESA's Gaia satellite, German astronomers have detected a new open cluster in the Milky Way galaxy. The newly found cluster, designated Gaia 8, consists of about 100 stars, most likely including the Beta Lyrae variable. The finding is reported in a paper published September 10 on the arXiv pre-print server.

Clusters - Cloud - Groups - Stars - Milky

Open clusters, formed from the same giant molecular cloud, are groups of stars loosely gravitationally bound to each other. So far, more than 1,000 of them have been discovered in the Milky Way, and scientists are still looking for more, hoping to find a variety of these stellar groupings. Expanding the list of known galactic open clusters could be crucial for improving the understanding of the formation and evolution of the Milky Way.

Now, Ulrich Bastian of Heidelberg University in Germany reports the finding of a new galactic open cluster. Based on the data from Gaia Data Release 2 (DR2), he identified dozens of stars around Beta Lyrae that might be connected to the variable.

Data - DR2 - Star - Cluster - Members

"Checking the relevant data in DR2 surprisingly revealed an open star cluster of around 100 members to which β Lyrae obviously belongs," Bastian wrote in the paper.

According to the study, Gaia 8 includes about 100 stars and is centered on Beta Lyrae. The results suggest that the newfound cluster belongs to a larger old star formation complex. This complex most likely includes two already known star clusters (ASCC 100 and Stephenson 1) and an extended...
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