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Astronomers identify a young heavyweight star in the Milky Way

22 August 2016 Astronomy Now

Researchers have identified a young star, located almost 11,000 light-years away, which could help us understand how the most massive stars in the universe are formed. This star, already more than 30 times the mass of our Sun, is still in the process of gathering material from its parent molecular cloud, and may be even more massive when it finally reaches adulthood.

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VST captures 615-megapixel image of open cluster Messier 18

11 August 2016 Astronomy Now

Messier 18 is the small smattering of bright blue stars upper left of centre in this small-scale version of the original mammoth 30,577 x 20,108 pixel ESO image captured by the OmegaCAM camera attached to the VLT Survey Telescope (VST), located at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.

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Hubble captures scattered stars in Sagittarius

13 June 2016 Astronomy Now

This colourful and star-studded view of the Milky Way galaxy was captured when the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope pointed its cameras towards the constellation of Sagittarius. Blue stars can be seen scattered across the frame, set against a distant backdrop of red-hued cosmic companions. This blue litter most likely formed at the same time from the same collapsing molecular cloud.

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The secret life of the Orion Nebula

16 May 2016 Astronomy Now

Space bears witness to a constant stream of star births. Whole star clusters are often formed at the same time — and within a comparatively short period. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg have proposed a new mechanism that relies on the interplay between magnetic fields and gravitation to explain this quick formation, investigating a filament of gas and dust which also includes the well-known Orion Nebula.

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Hubble captures a birthday bubble

21 April 2016 Astronomy Now

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to celebrate Hubble’s 26th year in orbit, captures in stunning clarity an object known as the Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635) — a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the brilliant star within it. The vivid new portrait wins the Bubble Nebula a place in the exclusive Hubble hall of fame.