Ring of Dusty Material Observed in Cloud of Gas and Dust

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cloud of Dust

European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory while obtaining one of the sharpest image of a huge cloud of gas and dust, NGC 7538 has spotted a weird ring of dusty material.

NGC 7538 is a gas cloud about 8,800 light-years away from the earth located in the constellation Cepheus. The cloud has a mass of the order of 400,000 suns which is currently undergoing an intense bout of star formation. The observation is part of a study to learn more about how stars form and come into being.

The mysterious ring with a mass of 500 suns is oval in shape with its outer axis spanning 35 light-years and inner spanning 25 light-years. Researchers aren’t exactly sure about how it was formed or created. The best assumption is that it was formed after a huge star blew up and the ring is its remnant. The dust cloud holds 13 clumps of material which in the future may turn out to be massive stars. 

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