High - Speed Baby Star Tantrums
20. februar 2023
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Little fights over toys or candies are quite common in human households with siblings. In most cases, parents settle those adorable little disputes by sharing things. It is an entirely different story when the siblings in picture here are two baby stars and their home is a 'star forming cloud’ in the Orion constellation!

Baby stars form when thick clouds of gas and dust fall into themselves or ‘collapse’ due to gravity. Not all materials collapse to form a baby star. A new study shows that some gas can escape at a high speed, which scientists call a 'high-speed outflow’.

Most of the stars form in large groups like bunches of grapes in a vineyard. Because of this, theory predicts that some of these high-speed outflows of gas, coming from a star-forming cloud, can mix with another one nearby. This 'mix' can possibly affect the star formation in the nearby cloud. Until recently, it was quite challenging for astronomers to confirm this prediction as the star forming groups are located far away from our Earth.

Using the mighty ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) radio telescope, astronomers from the Kyushu University in Japan took a closer look at a region in the Orion constellation, about 1400 light-years away where large groups of stars were being born. To their excitement, astronomers saw an outflow of gas coming from a baby star, in a region known as FIR 3, hitting the nearby star-forming FIR 4 region, creating layers of energetic disturbances or ‘shock layers’.

With the new observation, astronomers can now further study whether this stellar sibling fight has a positive or negative effect on forming new stars.

Image: Regions FIR 3 and FIR 4 in OMC-2 (Orion Molecular Cloud 2) made from ALMA data (red: carbon monoxide gas, orange: thermal dust, blue: silicon monoxide gas). The green star marks the location of the baby star in the FIR 3 region. The image shows shock layers around the FIR 4 region as well as the outflow from the baby star. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), A. Sato et al.

Cool Fakta

ALMA is a giant radio telescope situated in Chile at a height of 5,000 meters. It is a powerful telescope that can capture high quality images of very weak radio waves that hold clues to star and planet formation and also the building blocks of life.

This Space Scoop is based on a Press Release from NAOJ .

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