|Observation data (J2000.0 epoch)|
|Right ascension||18h 30m 5.00s|
|Declination||−2° 02′ 30.00″|
|Distance||260 parsec (848 ly)|
|Apparent magnitude (V)||n/a|
|Apparent dimensions (V)||14.4×20.3arcmins|
The Serpens South star cluster is a relatively dense group of 50 young stars, 35 of which are protostars just beginning to form. The cluster is situated in the southern portion of the Serpens cloud (adjacent to the W40 HII region), located approximately 415 parsecs away from Earth.
The cluster was uncovered by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in the southern portion of the Serpens cloud. The discovery was possible due to the infrared observation capabilities of the SST because at visible wavelengths the stars are completely obscured by interstellar dust in the Serpens cloud.
The stars of the cluster were dubbed "siblings" by the team of astronomers led by Dr. Robert Gutermuth, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, because they were able to determine that the newly discovered stars belonged to the Serpens star-forming cloud, which also hosts the previously known Serpens embedded cluster, three degrees to the north.
The discovery of Serpens South is a direct result of the Gould's Belt Legacy project, which aims to study all prominent star-forming regions within about 1,600 light-years of Earth. These regions together form a ring of molecular clouds and associated young stars known as the Gould’s Belt and was first described by astronomer Benjamin Gould in 1879. Astronomers working on the project are trying to determine how members of large stellar families are related.
This star-forming region is located half a degree west of the W40 star-forming region and three degrees south of the Serpens Main star-forming region.
- The Spitzer Space Telescope
- The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics homepage
- The Gould's Belt Survey
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