By Christina Pince
science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting
stop. Many passengers would have rather stayed home." (Sagan 1994)
Title image courtesty of NASA at http://observe.ivv.nasa.gov
The study of open star
clusters validates this qoute in many ways. Scientist have used them to
understand the formation of, properties, and distances to stars.
The birth of stars is a macrocosmic display of stellar reincarnation. The
distances gauge the scale at which the entire universe is measured on.
The evolutionary tracks of stars are carefully plotted on H-R diagrams,
which help scientists understand the patterns of a star's main sequence
lifetime. Open star clusters include hundreds to thousands of stars, and
stretch from 1 degree to 26 degrees across the nighttime sky.
also use open star clusters to search for brown dwarfs. Since these type
of clusters are breeding grounds for stars, many types of stars can be
found. A brown dwarf is a star that is not massive enough to begin fusion,
so it is not as luminous. They would most likely become gravitationally
bound to a much more massive star within the cluster such as the Pleiades.
Brown dwarfs are most easily detected right after their formation.
The following webpages contain the information we have gathered from our
research in our Spring course. They include, cosmologies (mainly the Pleiades),
our observations (Pleiades, Hyades, and NGC869, 884 a double cluster),
calculations, and other information pertaining to the Pleiades.
The Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884).
Courtesy of NASA at http://observe.ivv.nasa.gov
Pleiades image courtesty of NASA at http://observe.ivv.nasa.gov