(ORDO NEWS) — After analyzing data from ESA’s Gaia satellite, astronomers at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory (SAO) in China have discovered 101 new open clusters in the Milky Way galaxy.
Open clusters are groups of gravitationally bound stars that were formed from the same giant molecular cloud.
So far, more than 1,000 open clusters have been discovered in the Milky Way, and scientists are still looking for more.
A team of astronomers led by China’s Qin Songmei reports the discovery of 101 new objects.
The discovery is the result of using the pyUPMASK and HDSBSCAN clustering algorithms to analyze the Gaia 3 (DR3) data release.
Songmei’s team was able to identify 324 open clusters, 101 of which had not been previously recorded.
Thus, the discovery increased the number of known nearby (within 1600 light-years from Earth) open clusters by about 45%.
For the known 223 clusters, their parameters have been updated by carefully comparing the spatial distribution and other properties with the previous cluster catalog.
Among the recently discovered open clusters, there are 19 pairs with a common origin, the age difference of which is less than 30 million years.
In addition, there are also three groups containing triple open clusters, with a spatial separation of less than 65 light-years and an age difference of less than 10 million years.
Astronomers speculate that these triplets formed from the same molecular cloud.
In concluding remarks, the authors of the article noted that a more detailed analysis of new open clusters is needed.
According to them, additional spectroscopic data from the stars in these clusters will be of paramount importance for determining the dynamic and chemical evolution of the clusters.
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