Home Page

The complete history of the Universe -- from the Big Bang to 200 my into the future

Loading

History of the Universe eBook. 398 pages, 300 illustrations only $2.99

Previous pageNext page

Open Star Clusters

New stars form in groups called open star clusters. These are strung out along the spiral arms like beads in a necklace. Open clusters are much smaller than globular star clusters, containing only a few tens or hundreds of stars.

Open star clusters are important because planets probably form during the creation of some of these stars. Unfortunately it is hard to watch open star clusters form because spiral arms are surrounded by clouds of gas and dust.

Open star cluster image in nearby galaxy from NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) - ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Once the stars begin to shine they blow away the left-over gas and dust. You can see several open star clusters (for example the Pleiades) without binoculars.

After a while, the stars formed in an open star cluster drift apart, probably pulled by the attraction of passing stars. Letís focus down on one star and see how it works.

Previous pageNext page


History of the Universe eBook. 398 pages, 300 illustrations only $2.99

eBook only $2.99
398 pages, 300 images

"I find the science fabulous...an extremely useful teaching tool."
Professor David Christian

Become a Citizen of the Universe

and get your free badge!