The team of astronomers has published new observations of nearby galaxies that resemble colorful cosmic fireworks.
The new images were taken with the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). They show the individual components of galaxies in different colors, allowing astronomers to pinpoint the location of young stars and the gas they heat around them. By combining these new observations with data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), scientists have learned more about what causes stars to form from gas.
Astronomers generally know that stars are born in clouds of gas, but what exactly causes star formation and what role galaxies play in this process remains a mystery. To understand this process, the team of researchers observed various nearby galaxies with powerful telescopes on Earth and in space, scanning their various regions involved in the birth of stars.
The scientists also used data from the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument at the VLT ESO in the Atacama Desert in Chile. So they managed to track newborn stars and the warm gas around them.
In addition to ALMA and MUSE, the PHANGS project also features observations from the NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
It will take many hours of analyzing the images obtained before it is possible to understand how stars are actually born, scientists say.