The 2010 National Astronomy Meeting at Glasgow University, as with every big astrophysical conference, means there’s a steady stream of astronomy stories coming out this week. Will Gater of the Sky at Night magazine is there and has a list of other people who will be tweeting from there. Astronomy Now magazine has been keeping a NAM2010 blog, so here’s a quick summary of today’s science entries in there:
The big pretty picture was the release of a Herschel Infrared Space Telescope view of the Rosette Nebula. The nebula lies 5,000 light years from the Earth and is associated with a cloud of gas and dust with the mass of 10,000 Suns. The giant cloud is a birthing ground for giant OB class stars, the brightest and hottest around. When we look at other galaxies, most of the light we see are due to these stars, as others are too faint to contribute much, so understanding their evolution is a key factor in the Herschel mission. The image is a combination of views at wavelengths of 70, 160 and 250 microns, all invisible to the naked eye and equivalent to temperatures just a few tens above absolute zero. The image was taken as part of HOBYs, a survey of OB stars by the telescope.