Unraveling the stellar content of young clusters

phys.org | 8/14/2018 | Staff
HelloimMe (Posted by) Level 3
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About twenty-five percent of young stars in our galaxy form in clustered environments, and stars in a cluster are often close enough to each other to affect the way they accrete gas and grow. Astronomers trying to understand the details of star formation, for example the relative abundance of massive stars to low mass ones, must take such complicated clustering effects into account. Measuring the actual demographics of a cluster is not easy either.

Young stars are embedded within obscuring clouds of natal material. Infrared radiation can escape, however, and astronomers probe these regions at infrared wavelengths using the shape of the spectral energy distribution (the SED—the relative amounts of flux emitted at different wavelengths) to diagnose the nature of the young star: its mass, age, accretion activity, developing disk, and similar properties. One major complication is that the various telescopes and instruments used to measure an SED have large and different-sized beams that encompass multiple objects in a cluster. As a result, each point in an SED is a confused blend of emission from all the constituent stars, with the longest wavelength datapoints (from the largest beams) covering a spatial region perhaps ten times larger than the shortest wavelength points.

CfA - Astronomers - Rafael - Martinez-Galarz - Howard

CfA astronomers Rafael Martinez-Galarz and Howard Smith and their two...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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