Color composite GSAOI+GeMS image of HP 1 obtained using the Gemini South telescope in Chile. North is up and East to the left. Composite image produced by Mattia Libralato of the Space Telescope Science Institute. Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF; composite image produced by Mattia Libralato of Space Telescope Science Institute.
Just as high-definition imaging is transforming home entertainment, it is also advancing the way astronomers study the Universe.
“Ultra-sharp adaptive optics images from the Gemini Observatory allowed us to determine the ages of some of the oldest stars in our Galaxy,” said Leandro Kerber of the Universidade de São Paulo and Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Brazil. Kerber led a large international research team that published their results in the April 2019 issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Using advanced adaptive optics technology at the Gemini South telescope in Chile, the researchers zoomed in on a cluster of stars known as HP 1. “Removing our atmosphere’s distortions to starlight with adaptive optics reveals tremendous details in the objects we study,” added Kerber. “Because we captured these stars in such great detail, we were able to determine their advanced age and piece together a very compelling story.”