First-ever clear view of W49A in our galaxy

This image from the Smithsonian's Submillimeter Array maps the projected density of molecular gas in the central 30 light-years of W49A. Brighter colors mark denser regions. The brightest region at the image center is less than three light-years across, yet it contains about 50,000 Suns' worth of molecular gas. (Credit: Roberto Galván-Madrid (ESO)/Hauyu Baobab Liu (ASIAA, Taiwan)/Tzu-Cheng Peng (ESO))

This image from the Smithsonian’s Submillimeter Array maps the projected density of molecular gas in the central 30 light-years of W49A. Brighter colors mark denser regions. The brightest region at the image center is less than three light-years across, yet it contains about 50,000 Suns’ worth of molecular gas.
(Credit: Roberto Galván-Madrid (ESO)/Hauyu Baobab Liu (ASIAA, Taiwan)/Tzu-Cheng Peng (ESO))

Main Point:

Astronomers got a first-ever clear view of a giant star cluster formation in W49A region located on the opposite side of our galaxy.

Published in:

The Astrophysical Journal

Study Further:

In the present study, U.S. astronomers used the Smithsonian’s Submillimeter Array (SMA) to uncover a huge star-forming region known as W49A that is located about 36,000 light-years away from us on the opposite side of the Milky Way galaxy. Although, W49A is nearly 100 times brighter than the Orion nebula but the presence of dust hides it from scientists.

“We were amazed by all the features we saw in the SMA images,” lead author Roberto Galván-Madrid, who conducted this research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), said in a statement.

W49A shows an energetic star formation where stars are formed nearly 100 times faster than our galaxy. The center of this region has extraordinarily compact star cluster, i.e. about 100,000 stars within a space only 10 light-years on a side. In comparison, there are fewer than 10 stars within 10 light-years of our Sun.

Sources:

SMA Reveals Giant Star Cluster in the Making – CfA (http://goo.gl/WiwFDh)

R. Galván-Madrid et al. (2013). MUSCLE W49: A Multi-Scale Continuum and Line Exploration of the Most Luminous Star Formation Region in the Milky Way. I. Data and the Mass Structure of the Giant Molecular Cloud The Astrophysical Journal DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/779/2/121