NASA's Hubble Space Telescope finds spiraling stars, set to reveal secrets of early universe

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found spiraling stars whose observations can help reveal secrets of the early universe.

| Updated on: Sep 10 2022, 12:21 IST
NASA: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter makes astonishing discovery
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope finds spiraling stars.
1/6 The lunar pits found by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have mild temperatures, drastically different from the extreme conditions on the surface of the Moon. The temperatures in these caves are nearly 17 degree Celsius almost at all times. (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope finds spiraling stars.
2/6 NASA Moon recently tweeted, "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of pits indicate that the Moon has caves. Could they become astronaut habitats? Scientists have discovered that parts of the pits are always about 63°F (17°C), differing from extreme temperatures at the Moon's surface". (NASA)
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope finds spiraling stars.
3/6 The surface temperatures on the Moon can go from an extremely high 127 degrees Celsius and as low as -173 degrees Celsius. "The pits, and caves to which they may lead, would make thermally stable sites for lunar exploration compared to areas at the Moon's surface, which heat up to 260 F (about 127 C) during the day and cool to minus 280 F (about minus 173 C) at night,” NASA Moon tweeted further. (NASA)
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope finds spiraling stars.
4/6 First discovered in 2009, these lunar pits could potentially be used as location for a first Moon Base. Not only are the temperatures moderate, but these pits could also provide protection against cosmic rays, solar radiation and micrometeorites, according to NASA. (AP)
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope finds spiraling stars.
5/6 LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said, “Lunar pits are a fascinating feature on the lunar surface. Knowing that they create a stable thermal environment helps us paint a picture of these unique lunar features and the prospect of one day exploring them.” (NASA)
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6/6 The particular pit used to analyze the thermal properties by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was in an area of the Moon known as the Mare Tranquillitatis. It is 100-meters deep and as wide as a football field. According to scientists, the overhang of the pit is responsible for creating shadows on the Moon and maintaining a temperature of nearly 17 degrees Celsius at all times. (NASA)
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope finds spiraling stars.
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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope finds spiraling stars. (NASA, ESA, Andi James)

Very little is known about the early universe. Many secrets have remained hidden from human observation despite the Herculean effort of space agencies. As continuous research and observations are being made by the scientists and researchers, more exciting things are popping up. And now with the help of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have observed stars spiralling into the centre of a huge stellar nursery named NGC 346. It is being said that these observations will help unveil more clues about our early universe. Sounds exciting right?

"Nature likes spirals – from the whirlpool of a hurricane, to pinwheel-shaped protoplanetary disks around newborn stars, to the vast realms of spiral galaxies across our universe. Now astronomers are bemused to find young stars that are spiraling into the center of a massive cluster of stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way," NASA said in a report.

According to the information provided by NASA about the spiraling stars, the outer arm of the spiral may be feeding star formation in a river-like motion of gas and stars. This is an efficient way to fuel star birth, researchers say. The Small Magellanic Cloud has a simpler chemical composition than the Milky Way, making it similar to the galaxies found in the younger universe, when heavier elements were more scarce. Because of this, the stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud burn hotter and so run out of their fuel faster than in our Milky Way.

"Though a proxy for the early universe, at 200,000 light-years away the Small Magellanic Cloud is also one of our closest galactic neighbors. Learning how stars form in the Small Magellanic Cloud offers a new twist on how a firestorm of star birth may have occurred early in the universe's history, when it was undergoing a "baby boom" about 2 to 3 billion years after the big bang (the universe is now 13.8 billion years old). The new results find that the process of star formation there is similar to that in our own Milky Way," NASA said.

About the NGC 346

The NGC is 150 light-years in diameter and boasts the mass of 50,000 Suns. Its intriguing shape and rapid star formation rate has puzzled astronomers. It took the combined power of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) to unravel the behavior of this mysterious-looking stellar nesting ground.

NASA informed that half of the Hubble data for this study of NGC 346 is archival. The first observations were taken 11 years ago. They were recently repeated to trace the motion of the stars over time. Given the telescope's longevity, the Hubble data archive now contains more than 32 years of astronomical data powering unprecedented, long-term studies.

Did you know?

What do you know about NASA's Hubble Space Telescope? The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA. The Telescope's mirror-based optical system collects and focuses light from the universe to be analyzed by science and guidance instruments. The optical system, called the Optical Telescope Assembly (OTA), gives Hubble a unique view of the universe by gathering infrared, visible and ultraviolet light.

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First Published Date: 10 Sep, 12:21 IST
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