The Hubble Space Telescope is about to begin its most intensive investigation ever. NASA will use the space telescope to study more than 300 stars in our own Milky Way galaxy and adjacent galaxies. The survey will focus on young stars in the hope of better understanding their evolution.
The survey, known as the “Young Star Ultraviolet Heritage Library” (or ULYSES for short), will aim to build literature and data on young stars in the Milky Way and other stars of different ages in nearby galaxies.
Understanding how stars form, survive, and die is critical to our understanding of the Milky Way and the universe as a whole. As NASA points out in a new blog post, without stars, we wouldn’t be here, and without stars, the universe “would be a pretty boring place.” In fact, if the material of the Big Bang had never coalesced into stars, many elements would not have existed, nor would planets like Earth existed.
“One of the key objectives of ULLYSES is to form a complete reference sample that can be used to create a spectral library that captures the diversity of stars, ensuring heritage data sets for a wide range of astrophysical topics. ULLYSES is expected to have a lasting impact on future research by astronomers around the world,” Julia Roman-Duval, ULLYSES project leader, said in a statement. “This unique collection is making it possible to diversify and exciting astrophysics research in many fields.”
NASA says the overall goal of the program is “to give astronomers a better understanding of the birth of stars and how this is related to everything from planets to galaxy formation and evolution.” In fact, stars are vital to the life of galaxies, because the young star-forming regions of galaxies are always the most active and therefore the most unstable.
“The ULLYSES program is building a legacy for the future, creating a comprehensive database that astronomers will use for research in the coming decades,” NASA said. The archive also complements parts of star-forming stories that will soon be captured through infrared light observations from NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. Working with Weber, Hubble and Weber will provide a holistic view of the history of star formation and cosmic star formation. “