New images and videos from the second data collection of the Survey of the Magellanic Stellar History (SMASH), the most comprehensive survey of the Large and Small Magellanic Cloud to date, have been released by the United States National Science Foundation (NSF). revolutionize the human understanding of the stars that make up the two dwarf galaxies.
In an official note, the organization points out that the unpublished records, produced from 4 billion measurements of 360 million objects, reveal an “impressive family portrait of our galactic neighbors,” with a unique perspective of the stars, gases and dust of the region. .
About 50 nights of specialized observations made it possible to create the material, as well as the help of DECam (Dark Energy Camera), one of the most powerful on Earth, installed in the Inter-American Observatory’s 4-meter telescope Víctor M. Blanco. or Cerro Tololo (CTIO), in Chile, and the resolution of 520 MP.
Glen Langston, NSF Representative, emphasizes: “These are beautiful, multi-colored images of the neighboring galaxies closest to the Milky Way. The team’s concern gave us a remarkable picture of 13 billion years of history. “
Right next to it
Due to the proximity of our Milky Way’s Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, astronomers are more likely to explore universal formations of them, as both are particularly active and constantly generate new stars.
Everything comes at a price, however, as this same distance causes the areas to occupy a huge field of view in the sky, more than usual researchers can cover – an obstacle bypassed by DECam, which provides elaborate details, such as the evidence that they are in the recent past collided, triggering intense activity of star birth.
Knut Olsen, a scientist at NOIRLab, a research center at NSF, and co-leader of the study, explains that the circumference covered by the content is 2,400 times larger than that of the full moon: “These data, which relate central regions of the galaxies, where most of the stars are found, are uniquely combined in depth, width and uniformity.
“They not only produce incredible images, but also allow us to look into the past and reconstruct the process of star formation in the Magellanic clouds over time. With them we can try to understand how and why these galaxies ended up here, ”he emphasizes.
One of the Foundation’s future plans, which encourages the international community to seek news from the documents, which will soon be made available to the public in full by the Astro Data Lab and the Astro Data Archive, is the development of a film reflecting the development of the ages.
“We have only just started,” said David Nidever, director of the initiative.