(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers have discovered bizarre “blue spots” in space. These blobs are clusters of young blue stars that are isolated from their parent galaxy.
Five of these blue spots were discovered in the Virgo Cluster of galaxies using Hubble and Very Large Array observations.
It appears to be a new type of star system, consisting only of young blue stars in a random arrangement. This is a rather strange arrangement – how they ended up isolated from any older stars was a mystery. And they were isolated because the nearest possible host galaxy was hundreds of light-years away.
Upon closer inspection, the team found even more oddities in the blue patches. Spectroscopy showed that the systems had very little atomic hydrogen, which is odd because it’s a key ingredient for star formation.
“We noticed that most systems lack atomic gas, but that doesn’t mean there’s no molecular gas,” said Michael Jones, lead author of the study.
“Actually, it should be there because the systems are still forming stars. The existence of mostly young stars and a small amount of gas suggests that these systems must have lost their gas quite recently.”
Young stars were also found to contain large amounts of heavy metals, indicating that the systems originated inside much larger galaxies, where several generations of star birth and death have already taken place.
But their young age and isolation from any possible host galaxies indicated that they lost this gas very quickly. Thus, astronomers speculate that this was due to a process called pressure stripping.
The team predicts that eventually these blue star systems will likely split into smaller ones before spreading further into the Virgo Cluster.
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