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Good old Hubble discovers new stars

The group of stars includes absolutely new ones, which could be the building blocks for future solar system.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 16:13 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The Hubble telescope has discovered thousands of new stars in the Orion Nebula, US space agency NASA has said.

Hubble's advanced camera has shown thousands of stars that would have otherwise never been visible, NASA added.

The group of stars includes absolutely new ones which could be the building blocks of future solar systems.

NASA officials described the new image as a "tapestry of star formation" that includes "jets fired by stars still embedded in their dust and gas cocoons" and "disks of material encircling young stars".

Among the stars spotted for the first time in visible light are the so-called failed stars, also know as 'brown dwarfs'. They are too small to be ordinary stars as they can't sustain nuclear fusion in their cores the way the sun does, NASA said.

"The wealth of information that we get by seeing stars of all sizes in one dense place provides an extraordinary opportunity to study star formation," said observation leader Massimo Robberto, Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

"Our goal is to calculate the masses and ages for these young stars, so that we can map their history and get a general scenario of the star formation in that region. We can then sort the stars by mass and age and look for trends."

NASA said that the Orion constellationwas a "perfect laboratory to study how stars are born" because it is only 1,500 light years away, while the Milky Way is as far as 100,000 light years.

First Published: Jan 12, 2006 10:41 IST