The Cat’s Paw Nebula NGC 6334 from the ArTeMiS camera on APEX


ArTeMiS is a new wide-field submillimetre-wavelength camera that will be a major addition to APEX’s suite of instruments and further increase the depth and detail that can be observed. The new generation detector array of ArTeMIS acts more like a CCD camera than the previous generation of detectors. This will let wide-field maps of the sky be made faster and with many more pixels.

Image and credit: ESO show the wide field structure of the submillimeter sky, revealing the glow of dust in regions of ongoing star formation and how the regions are linked with inflowing material, glowing at a few tens and up to around a hundred degrees Kelvin. While similar observations have been made as early as 1975 (for the reflection nebula NGC 2023), only now is the wide-field detector capability reaching this level of imaging. The optical view of the obscuring dust and stars of various degrees of reddening is overlain. The usual optical view of the dust, not showing it glowing but only obscuring starlight, is on display in this view of the Corona Australis region (below). Credit to an alternative site today. I would also like to clarify my previous post to point out that the Hipparcos parallax for R CrA itself is not reliably measured. The accepted distance for it and the whole cloud complex is 130 pc. The very much more distant globular cluster NGC 6723 is prominent at the top of this image. For another view of the Cat’s Paw Nebula, see here. For a comprehensive look at the Corona Australis star forming region, go here.


A review by Philippe André of the new paradigm of star formation in the light of Herschel is here (arXiv):

Recent studies of the nearest star-forming clouds of the Galaxy at submillimeter wavelengths with the Herschel Space Observatory have provided us with unprecedented images of the initial conditions and early phases of the star formation process. The Herschel images reveal an intricate network of filamentary structure in every interstellar cloud. These filaments all exhibit remarkably similar widths – about a tenth of a parsec – but only the densest ones contain prestellar cores, the seeds of future stars.

On a related topic, the earlier Spitzer infrared space telescope has now been refitted for exoplanet observations. In another microlensing find, a sub-Neptune mass planet has been found ~ 1 AU from a late M dwarf. The paper (arXiv, accepted to ApJ) rounds up the interesting concepts at the frontiers of astrometry. Finally, this great picture of Phobos and Deimos, a raw frame from Curiosity, is exceeded only by this video.


Update: arXiv/astro-ph today latest on the heavy concentrations of protostars in NGC 6334, which has been likened to a “mini-starburst” event.


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