International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research | 2017 Mar 06
The discovery of young stars in old star clusters could send scientists back to the drawing board for one of the universe’s most common objects.
Dr. Bi-Qing For, from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Perth, said our understanding of how stars evolve is a cornerstone of astronomical science. “There are a billion trillion stars in the universe and we’ve been observing and classifying those we can see for more than a century,” she said. “Our models of stellar evolution are based on the assumption that stars within star clusters formed from the same material at roughly the same time.”
A star cluster is a group of stars that share a common origin and are held together by gravity for some length of time. Because star clusters are assumed to contain stars of similar age and composition, researchers have used them as an “astronomical laboratory” to understand how mass affects the evolution of stars. “If this assumption turns out to be incorrect, as our findings suggest, then these important models will need to be revisited and revised,” Dr. For said.
The discovery involves a study of star clusters located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighbouring galaxy to the Milky Way. By cross-matching the locations of several thousand young stars with the locations of stellar clusters, the researchers found 15 stellar candidates that were much younger than other stars within the same cluster. ...
A Discovery of Young Stellar Objects in Older Clusters of the Large Magellanic Cloud - Bi-Qing For, Kenji Bekki