Context: Astronomers at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), have found that stars of varied ages can co-exist in open clusters. This challenges earlier understanding that stars in an open cluster have the same age.
Understanding the background:
- Stars in our Galaxy are formed from the molecular clouds present in the Galaxy.
- It is believed that the majority of stars in our Galaxy are formed in the star clusters making them important clues to understand the star formation mechanism.
- Open star clusters are a system of stars bound by gravity in which stars are born from the same molecular clouds.
- All the stars in a cluster follow the evolutionary sequence as per their initial masses at the time of the formation of these stars.
- Open clusters are also important in probing the formation and evolution of the Milky Way Galaxy as they are distributed throughout the Galactic disk.
More about the study
- The scientists measured the light from three poorly studied open clusters NGC 381, NGC 2360, and Berkeley 68 observed using the 1.3-m telescope at Devasthal situated in the lap of the Himalaya for studying the evolution of stars in these clusters.
- The scientists found two different stellar evolutionary sequences in the cluster NGC 2360, which has been observed in very few open clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy until now.
- Their study has been recently published in 'Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,' a leading journal in the field of astronomy and astrophysics published by the OXFORD University Press in the UK.
Image Source: Britannica