There’s a strange sickle-shaped object in the Carina Nebula. The authors of this paper used observations at several different wavelengths to investigate the nature of this intriguing nebula, leading to some interesting discoveries and even more questions.
It’s big, it’s active, and it’s only 20 million lightyears away– it is the Whirlpool galaxy, and astronomers are getting a brand new view. Using the Plateau de Bure interferometer, this paper examines the gas in this nearby grand-design spiral galaxy on arcsecond scales, resolving for the first time its individual molecular clouds. What does this tell us about star formation in this galaxy? Stay tuned!
Unlike its candy bar namesake, the center of our Milky Way Galaxy is not actually a very pleasant place to be. There’s a supermassive central black hole to deal with, intense radiation from a population of massive stars, and hot clouds of molecular gas. In this paper, the authors use observations of three molecular spectral lines to measure the temperatures of these gas clouds in the center of the Galaxy, and find that the processes heating the clouds may not be what you expect!
There is a long standing debate on whether the X-factor, the conversion factor between molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide in molecular clouds, is constant in our Galaxy. This is a very important assumption we usually make when studying star formation! In this post, we explore state-of-the-art simulations by Narayanan & Hopkins that attempt to settle this debate.
A Fermi/LAT study of the ISM using gamma rays finds evidence for missing gas and variations in the CO-to-molecular gas conversion factor.
The current and next generation of large scale spectroscopic surveys could provide new clues in the hunt for the carriers producing mysterious interstellar absorption features.
Sometimes we see strange shapes when we look through our fancy telescopes and we’re left wondering how they formed. How did the rings and “pearls” of SN1987A form? Or the hexagonal cloud pattern on Saturn? The star Betelgeuse – famous for being Orion’s left shoulder – presents another unusual geometric appearance.
Finding molecular gas in distant galaxies can present a real challenge for astronomers, but Darling and Zeiger propose a new method to find sites of star formation: looking for absorption of the CMB by formaldehyde!