Initial Results of AKARI

AKARI observes Star Forming Regions, Stars at the end of their life, Supernova Remnants, Active Galactic Nuclei, and distant galaxies.

The first Japanese infrared astronomy satellite AKARI, launched in February 2006, continues observations in good condition. Further initial scientific results will be presented in the annual meeting of the Astronomical Society of Japan on the 28th - 30th of March 2007. Five selected results are explained here. On this occasion, the research concerns observations chiefly using the Near- and Mid-Infrared Camera (IRC), one of the instruments onboard AKARI.

1. Star formation history revealed by AKARI wide-area survey observations
- Star formation over three generations in the nebula IC4954/4955 in the constellation Vulpecula -

The cycle of star formation over three generations of stars was observed for the first time at seven different infrared wavelengths by AKARI. The results shed light on the process in which stars form in our Galaxy. (Details)

2. The first infrared detection of a supernova remnant in the Small Magellanic Cloud

AKARI detected for the first time, a supernova remnant in our neighbouring galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud in the infrared wavelength from 3 to 11 micrometres, and investigated the interaction between the supernova remnant and the interstellar material. This result will be presented in the annual meeting of the Korean Astronomical Society in April. (Details)

3. Stars in the later stages of their life cycle as seen by AKARI
- Detection of mass-loss from relatively young red-giant stars in the globular cluster NGC 104 -

AKARI detected evidence of high mass-loss rate from the relatively young red-giant stars based on observations from 3 to 24 micrometres. This finding provides us with new insight into to the evolution of the stars in the later stages of their life. (Details)

4. Molecular gas surrounding an active galactic nucleus with a giant black hole at its centre as seen by AKARI infrared observations
- Detection of the molecular gas surrounding the active galactic nucleus in the ultra luminous infrared galaxy UGC05101 -

AKARI has discovered evidence for molecular gas of different temperatures surrounding the active galactic nucleus containing an enormous black hole at its centre. This data will provide vital clues in understanding the structure of galaxies harbouring active galactic nuclei and black holes. (Details)

5. AKARI confirms an era of intense active star formation in the Universe
- Deep sky survey in 15 micrometre infrared light -

The Near- and Mid-Infrared Camera (IRC) onboard AKARI has carried out a wide area deep survey in 15 micrometre infrared light, detecting many galaxies. This result indicates that a phase of intense active star formation took place in the Universe, lasting several billion years over 6 billion years ago. (Details)

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