Excitement: first data from Hubble to search for little siblings of massive stars

23 Oct

Today the first data of my very first own Hubble proposal is coming in. I feel excited as a child.  Especially since I am from the generation that grew up as children with pictures from Hubble.  And now, finally the first data is coming in.  Still unprocessed and it is not yet clear how good the data is, but it looks so pretty already.

So, what is this good for.   The plan is to search for low mass companion stars in the very close vicinity of massive stars.  It is unknown if such stars form at all. One might argue that we will find many: massive stars are known to have a lot of companions. On the other hand, being so close to a massive star is an extremely hostile environment for a young low mass star to form.

Finding these companions is not an easy task. It is similar to finding a planet next to a star like the sun. The enormous contrast in brightness is a big challenge. But fortunately we can use techniques that have been optimized to find planets for this.  At least we will try.  Stay tuned.

I owe many of my co-investigators who made it possible to design this program in particular Abhijith Rajan (Phoenix).