ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY PRESS INFORMATION NOTE



EMBARGOED FOR 00:01 BST, WEDNESDAY 18 APRIL 2007
Ref.: PN 07/ 26 (NAM 22)
 
Issued by RAS Press Officers: 
Robert Massey
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 4582 
Mobile: +44 (0)794 124 8035
E-mail: rm@ras.org.uk

 

AND 


Anita Heward
Tel: +44 (0)1483 420 904    
Mobile: +44(0)7756 034 243
E-mail: anitaheward@btinternet.com


National Astronomy Meeting Press Room (16 - 20 April only):
Tel: +44 (0)1772 892 613

                 892 475

                 892 477

 

RAS Web site: http://www.ras.org.uk/

 

RAS National Astronomy Meeting web site:

http://nam2007.uclan.ac.uk

 

CONTACT DETAILS ARE LISTED AT THE END OF THIS RELEASE.

 

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ASTRONOMERS MAKE SUPER-DETAILED IMAGE OF GIANT STELLAR NURSERY

 

An international team of astronomers have collaborated to create the most detailed 
image ever produced of the Rosette Nebula (NGC 2237), a giant stellar nursery. 
The new image was assembled using data from INT Photometric H-Alpha Survey of the 
Northern Galactic Plane (IPHAS) and covers four square degrees of sky, equivalent 
in size to about twenty times the size of the full moon. Robert Greimel from the 
University of Graz, Austria, will present results from the survey in a talk on 
Wednesday 18 April at the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting 
in Preston.

 

The Rosette nebula is a vast cloud of dust and gas spanning 100 light years and 
lying about 4500 light-years away, in the direction of the constellation of Monoceros. 
Inside the nebula lies a cluster of bright, massive, young stars (NGC 2244), whose 
strong stellar winds and radiation have cleared a hole in the nebula's centre. 
Ultraviolet light from these hot stars excites the surrounding nebula, causing it 
to glow.

 

Star formation is still active around the nebula, as proven by the presence of a 
very young infrared star (AFGL 961) still in its final stages of formation. It is 
thought that the young massive stars in the nebula will one day blow all the gas 
and dust away. The centre of the Rosette Nebula is about 1.8 degrees below the 
Galactic Plane, the glow from which can be seen at the top left (northeastern) 
corner of this image.

 

Due to the large size of the nebula on the sky, most large telescopes are unable to 
capture the entire nebula in one exposure and therefore the highest resolution 
images have been limited to small areas of the nebula. The IPHAS team is in the 
process of imaging the entire plane of our Galaxy and members of the survey team were 
able to combine almost 200 individual images to make this large and detailed H-alpha image.

 

Nick Wright from University College, London, commented, "The superb quality of this 
image reflects the high quality and large amounts of data produced by the IPHAS 
survey. Using images like this one, many members of our collaboration are working 
hard to make important discoveries about the structure and content of our Galaxy."

 

Even more detailed images of the central parts of the Rosette Nebula have also been 
prepared by the IPHAS team, including one of dense dust lanes in the nebula where 
star formation may still be ongoing.

 

IPHAS is a survey of the entire Northern Galactic Plane at three different wavelengths, 
using the Wide Field Camera on the 2.5m Isaac Newton Telescope sited on La 
Palma in the Canary Islands. When complete, it will cover an area of 1800 square degrees. 
The survey is now almost finished and the first release of the catalogue 
is expected by June 2007. IPHAS will soon be followed by VPHAS+, a complementary Southern 
Galactic Plane survey using the ESO 2.5m VLT Survey Telescope (VST) in Chile.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

 

Robert Greimel

University of Graz, Austria
Tel: +43 (0)720 737512
E-mail: rgreimel@gmail.com 



Nick Wright

University College, London

Tel:  +44(0)7679 4348

Mob: +44 (0)7966 306472

E-mail: nwright@star.ucl.ac.uk

 

Professor Janet Drew

Principal Investigator, IPHAS

University College, London

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 7553

E-mail: j.drew@imperial.ac.uk

 

From 17 to 18 April, Robert Greimel and Nick Wright can be contacted via the NAM 
press office (see above).

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

 

The 2007 RAS National Astronomy Meeting is hosted by the University of Central 
Lancashire. It is sponsored by the Royal Astronomical Society and the UK Science 
and Technology Facilities Council.

 

This year the NAM is being held together with the UK Solar Physics (UKSP) and 
Magnetosphere, Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial (MIST) spring meetings. 2007 is 
International Heliophysical Year.

 

The IPHAS collaboration brings together astronomers from universities across Europe, 
the USA and Australia and is led by Professor Janet Drew of Imperial College, London.

 

IMAGES:

 

These will be posted on the RAS NAM website at: www.nam2007.uclan.ac.uk/press.php

 

The large IPHAS image can also be found at: www.star.ucl.ac.uk/~nwright/downloads/rosette_nebula.bmp

Other images of the Rosette nebula: www.star.ucl.ac.uk/~nwright/imaging.html

The IPHAS collaboration: www.iphas.org