Thanks to an international team of astrophysicists led by the University of Valparaíso (Chile), the Stellar Astrophysics Group of the University of Alicante (UA), and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), a new massive star cluster was found. The even bigger surprise was that the cluster was hiding in plain sight, in the direction of the Scutum constellation.
SciTechDaily.com brings the exciting news of the newfound cluster of stars, and it was named as Valparaíso 1.
7,000 light-years away from the Sun
The newfound star cluster contains a minimum of fifteen thousand stars and probably even more planets. Scientists generally estimate that almost every star in the Universe has planets that revolve around it. If humanity is ever able to possess the right technology for a trip to Valparaíso 1, a distance of 7,000 light-years must be travelled.
Ignacio Negueruela, who is a researcher at the University of Alicante and also the first author of the article, declared as cited by SciTechDaily:
Valparaíso 1 contains dozens of stars sufficiently bright to be observable through an amateur telescope, but they are lost in the middle of a crowd of stars which don’t belong to the cluster, but which are in front of it or behind it, and which disguise the structure of the cluster.
Ricardo Dorda, co-author and an IAC researcher, also emphasizes how surprising the discovery is:
Previous searches tried to locate open clusters, but Valparaíso 1 does not look like a cluster similar to those which we usually find, and that is why it was not discovered before.
For the scientists to detect the newfound star cluster, observations were combined from ESA’s Gaia satellite and ground-based telescopes.
Scutum is considered to be a small constellation. The name belongs from Latin, meaning ‘shield’. The constellation was originally named in 1684 as “Scutum Sobiescianum” by Johannes Hevelius.