Cosmic Sparklers

While fireworks only last a short time here on Earth, a bundle of cosmic sparklers in a nearby cluster of stars will be going off for a very long time. NGC 1333 is a star cluster populated with many young stars that are less than 2 million years old -- a blink of an eye in astronomical terms for stars like these expected to burn for billions of years.

This new image combines X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory Spitzer with infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope as well as optical data from Mayall’s 4-meter telescope.

To make a detailed study of the X-ray properties of young stars, a team of astronomers analyzed the data of both NGC 1333, located about 780 light-years from Earth, and the Serpens cloud, a similar cluster of young stars about 1,100 light-years away. Then they compared the two datasets with observations of the young stars in the Orion Nebula Cluster, which is the most studied young star cluster in the Milky Way galaxy.

The bigger the stellar sparkler, the brighter it will glow in X-rays.

Rare Stellar Fireworks Encounter in 2018

Astronomers are gearing up for high-energy fireworks coming in early 2018, when a stellar remnant the size of a city meets one of the brightest stars in our galaxy. The cosmic light show will occur when a pulsar discovered by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope swings by its companion star.

This was a fun post for celebrating the 4th of July!

Have a fun fireworks kind of day!


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