Mapping stellar nurseries in the Milky Way

Mapping stellar nurseries in the Milky Way
Spatial distribution of YSO candidates groups (red circles) in the Solar neighborhood. The Sun is represented by the yellow symbol in the center, and the segments of the Galactic disk that have been included in the SPICY study are white, while the others are gray. The approximate positions of the Milky Way’s spiral arms are shown in darker gray. Credit: Cosmostatistics Initiative

An international team of Astronomers from the Cosmostatistics Initiative (COIN) identified nearly 120,000 new young stellar objects (YSOs) based on data from the Infrared Array Camera of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The final catalog, named SPICY (Spitzer/IRAC Candidate YSO Catalog), is publicly available to anyone who wishes to study the first stages of stellar development.


Stars are the building blocks of all structures in our universe. They are responsible for producing the more complex chemical elements, spreading them through space, igniting the formation of planets and ultimately, forming

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A breakthrough in the study of stellar nurseries — ScienceDaily

The gas clouds in which stars are born and evolve are vast regions of the Universe that are extremely rich in matter, and hence in physical processes. All these processes are intertwined on different size and time scales, making it almost impossible to fully understand such stellar nurseries. However, the scientists in the ORION-B* programme have now shown that statistics and artificial intelligence can help to break down the barriers still standing in the way of astrophysicists.

With the aim of providing the most detailed analysis yet of the Orion molecular cloud, one of the star-forming regions nearest the Earth, the ORION-B team included in its ranks scientists specialising in massive data processing. This enabled them to develop novel methods based on statistical learning and machine learning to study observations of the cloud made at 240,000 frequencies of light**.

Based on artificial intelligence algorithms, these tools make it possible to

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16-year-old cosmic mystery solved, revealing stellar missing link — ScienceDaily

In 2004, scientists with NASA’s space-based Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spotted an object unlike any they’d seen before in our Milky Way galaxy: a large, faint blob of gas with a star at its center. Though it doesn’t actually emit light visible to the human eye, GALEX captured the blob in ultraviolet (UV) light and thus appeared blue in the images; subsequent observations also revealed a thick ring structure within it. So the team nicknamed it the Blue Ring Nebula. Over the next 16 years, they studied it with multiple Earth- and space-based telescopes, including W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii, but the more they learned, the more mysterious it seemed.

A new study published online on Nov. 18 in the journal Nature may have cracked the case. By applying cutting-edge theoretical models to the slew of data that has been collected on this object, the authors posit

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Stellar Smashups May Fuel Planetary Habitability, Study Suggests

In the search for alien life, Earth—as the only planet known to be inhabited—has always been a starting point. “We look for something that reminds us of home,” says Natalie Batalha, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz. That means a rocky planet at just the right distance from its star—a star similar to the sun—to soak up sufficient starlight to allow surface water to exist in liquid form.

But as astronomers have discovered thousands and thousands of planets, they have encountered a bewildering zoo of diverse worlds. So a rocky planet—Earth-like, as far as today’s telescopes can tell—could turn out to be something quite different than our familiar world. But how variable and unearthly could conditions on these rocky planets be? And could even extremely alien worlds harbor life?

“What are the physical processes that make them more diverse?” Batalha says. “That’s what we’re trying to understand.”

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Study finds stellar flares can lead to the diminishment of a planet’s habitability

NYUAD study finds stellar flares can lead to the diminishment of a planet's habitability
An artist’s conception of HD 209458 b, an exoplanet whose atmosphere is being torn off at more than 35,000 km/hour by the radiation of its close-by parent star. This hot Jupiter was the first alien world discovered via the transit method, and the first planet to have its atmosphere studied. Credit: NASA/European Space Agency/Alfred Vidal-Madjar (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS)

In a new study, a team led by research scientist Dimitra Atri of the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) identified which stars are most likely to host habitable exoplanets based on the calculated erosion rates of the planetary atmospheres.


In the paper titled “Stellar flares versus luminosity: XUV-induced atmospheric escape and planetary habitability,” published in the journal Monthly Notices of Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Atri and graduate student Shane Carberry Mogan have presented the process of analyzing flare emission data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey

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