Multi-wavelength Arches Cluster
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Northwestern/F.Zadeh et al., IR: NASA/HST/NICMOS, Radio: NRAO/VLA/C.Lang

Stellar Wind Superbubble?

Galaxies strain to produce stars. When conditions are right, and high enough densities are reached, galaxies can produce a large number of high-mass stars in a short space of time in a rapid burst. These "starbursts" do violence to their hosts, since the stars they contain emit ionizing ultraviolet radiation, and emit strong stellar winds which interact with their surroundings. The Milky Way contains some rather modest (by astrophysical standards) "starburst-like" regions. One particularly beautiful example in the Milky Way is the "Arches Cluster", a group of more than 100 massive stars which has formed near the center of the Galaxy. The image above show large filaments seen in the radio which give the Arches cluster its name. The inset shows a new Chandra X-ray image superposed on an infrared image. The infrared image reveals the hot stars as pointlike sources, while the X-ray image shows that the X-ray emission appears unresolved to Chandra, and may be produced by a bubble of million degree gas created by the combined powerful winds from the hot stars.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified June 11, 2001