Astronomers map out three nearby interstellar gas clouds

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Astronomers map out three nearby interstellar gas clouds
Astronomers map out three nearby interstellar gas clouds

New Delhi : With the help of Nobeyama 45-m Radio Telescope in Japan astronomers have map out three nearby molecular clouds: Orion A, Aquila Rift, and Messier 17 (M17).

"We know that stars such as the Sun are born from interstellar gas clouds," said Dr. Fumitaka Nakamura, an astronomer at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), and colleagues.

"These interstellar gas clouds are difficult to observe in visible light, but emit strong radio wavelength."

His team created detailed radio maps of Orion A, Aquila Rift, and M17 by using the FOREST instrument, a new 100 GHz receiver on the Nobeyama telescope.

These targets are located approximately 1,350, 1,422 and 6,849 light-years away, respectively.

The astronomers demonstrated that their data have enough capability to identify molecular outflows within the clouds.

"For the Orion A region, we collaborated with the CARMA interferometer in the United States, combining their data to create the most detailed map ever of the region," they said.

"The map has a spatial resolution of about 3,200 AU. This means that it can reveal details as small as 60 times the size of the Solar System."

"Even the world’s most powerful radio telescope, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), could not obtain a similar large-scale map of Orion A because of ALMA’s limited field-of-view and observation time constraints.”

"But ALMA can investigate more distant interstellar clouds. Therefore, this large-scale, most-detailed radio map of the Orion A gas cloud obtained by the Star Formation Project is complementary with other observational research."

The findings from the research have been published in the latest edition of Astronomical Society of Japan.