Scientists develop new method for detecting young stellar superclusters

(ORDO NEWS) — Stellar superclusters are dense clusters of bright young stars. As they evolve, their intense radiation can clear the area where they are from gas and dust.

But while clusters are forming, the area around them is still untouched. These newborn clusters can only be detected using radio surveillance, as they are surrounded by dense layers of gas and dust.

But how do astronomers know that the signal in their data is an emerging star cluster and not something else?

Allison Costa of the NRAO is working on a method to better extract their signal from the noise.

Together with her colleagues, Allison created images of stellar superclusters and integrated them into real background radio signals from the Very Large Array (VLA).

The simulated signals followed a power law distribution, where larger stars are less common than smaller ones.

Allison then analyzed the artificial images to see if her method could extract the signal. As a result, a power-law distribution of clusters was obtained, demonstrating that the method can work.

Going forward, Allison and her colleagues plan to integrate the simulated cluster signals into the raw background data and try to extract the signals.

This is a more complex and time consuming process, but it should show how well this approach can work.

Over time, a team of scientists will be able to detect forming stellar superclusters as part of radio observations.


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