Open Cluster : NGC 330

Universe Watch today has a bit of a challenge…… to look inside the Small Magellanic Cloud in the south of Sydney tonight and see if you can spot the open cluster of stars called NGC 330. If you look at the NGC 330 page on the right under Universe watch , you will see a picture showing you exactly where to find NGC 330. You will need a telescope to make out this cluster which has a magnitude of +9.

 

NGC 330

NGC 330 ( Click to Enlarge)

NGC 330 has being studied extensively by astronomers over the years as it is a young cluster of stars but has been found to contain a surprising amount of red and blue supergiants. A study of the blue supergiants leads to the idea that they may in fact be blue stragglers which possibly also exist in the other young star clusters found in the Small Magellanic Cloud.

 

Blue stragglers are stars which are hotter and bluer than other stars in the cluster which share the same brightness or luminance. It is thought that perhaps blue stragglers are binary stars that have or are in the process of merging together to form a single star with a larger mass. This would make the resulting star hotter and brighter than other stars in the cluster of it’s own age.

And it has been noted that Blue Stragglers are more commonly found in the dense regions of a star cluster. As there are more stars in a packed area, there is more chance of close encounters and indeed collisions between stars and this could lead to the formation of blue stragglers.

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~ by sydneystargazers on October 30, 2009.

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