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What Stars Will Hatch From The Tarantula Nebula?

13 Jan 2018, 16:35 UTC
What Stars Will Hatch From The Tarantula Nebula?
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To have a full picture of the lives of massive stars, researchers need to study them in all stages – from when they’re a mass of unformed gas and dust, to their often dynamic end-of-life explosions. NASA's flying telescope, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, is particularly well-suited for studying the pre-natal stage of stellar development in star-forming regions, such as the Tarantula Nebula, a giant mass of gas and dust located within the Large Magellanic Cloud, or LMC.Researchers from the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics, led by Michael Gordon, went aboard SOFIA to identify and characterize the brightness, ages and dust content of three young star-forming regions within the LMC.“The Large Magellanic Cloud has always been an interesting and excellent laboratory for massive star formation,” said Gordon. “The chemical properties of star-forming regions in the LMC are significantly different than in the Milky Way, which means the stars forming there potentially mirror the conditions of star formation in dwarf galaxies at earlier times in the universe.”In our galactic neighborhood, which includes the LMC, massive stars – generally classified as stars more than eight times the mass of Earth’s Sun – are believed to form exclusively in very dense ...

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