Three new open clusters of stars discovered in the Milky Way

Three new open clusters of stars discovered in the Milky Way
Three new open clusters of stars discovered in the Milky Way
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Using data from the ESA Gaia telescope, astronomers in Brazil have discovered three new open clusters in the Milky Way. The clusters designated UFMG 1, UFMG 2, and UFMG 3 were found in the Sagittarius arm.

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Open clusters formed from one giant molecular cloud are groups of stars that are weakly gravitationally bound to each other. At the moment, more than a thousand of them have been discovered in the Milky Way, and scientists are busy looking for new ones. More information about these clusters will help us better understand the mechanisms of formation and evolution of our galaxy.

A team of astronomers led by Filipe A. Ferreira of the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, reported the discovery of three new open clusters in the Sagittarius arm, in the vicinity of the NGC 5999 cluster. Analyzing data from Gaia, the European Space Agency's space telescope, regarding the area around NGC 5999, they noticed the existence of other clusters previously unknown. The research results are available at arXiv.org.

These clusters are about 4,900 light-years from our planet and contain at least several hundred stars with a metallicity close to the Sun. According to astronomers, these clusters are between 0.1 and 1.4 billion years old. According to the data obtained, UFMG 1, UFMG 2 and UFMG 3 have limiting radii of 20, 5, 15, 6 and 19.5 light years, respectively. By comparison, NGC 5999 has a limiting radius of about 15 light years.

According to the researchers, UFMG 1 and UFMG 2 have a denser core compared to UFMG 3, which has a narrower central structure. In addition, astronomers note that UFMG 3 is in the sky next to two other known clusters: Majaess 166 and Teutsch 81. They add that the two objects are likely nothing more than distant clusters projected towards UFMG 3.

The team also notes that all newly identified discovered clusters have well-defined basic sequences and contain at least two giants, making itochronous matching easier.

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