Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Astronomers plan second look at mega star birthing grounds

11.05.2010
Astronomers this summer will take a close look at a rare cosmic cradle for the universe’s largest stars, baby bruisers that grow up to have 50 times the sun’s mass.

The international team of astronomers headed by University of Florida scientist Peter Barnes used an Australian radio telescope to find the cloud of gas and dust 8,000 light years away in the Southern sky constellation Carina. The cloud is in the early stages of collapsing in on itself, offering astronomers an unusual vista on the first contractions of behemoth star birth.

“We understand some of it, but we really don’t have a clear picture of what’s important,” Barnes said. “This should help us learn a lot more about the process.”

Although our sun has far less mass than the incipient stars in the gas cloud, studying their formation could help astronomers understand how our solar system formed, Barnes said. That is because many stars the size of our sun are thought to have formed in clusters that dispersed into space over millions of years. It’s possible, Barnes said, that our sun traces its origin to such a cluster, and in fact chemical anomalies on meteorites suggest that’s the case.

The latest findings, which appeared in the monthly journal Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, have spurred the team to plan a closer look with another Australian telescope in August. The team will also use the Gemini South telescope, equipped with a mid-infrared camera designed and built at UF, to observe the cloud from the telescope’s location in Chile.

Stars at least 10 times the mass of our sun are rare, comprising only about 4 percent of those in the universe. Most are also at least 1,000 light years away and hard to study. It’s exceptionally rare for astronomers to encounter clouds of gas and dust early in the process of collapsing into large stars because the stars tend to destroy their natal origins.

“They’re rather nasty tykes,” Barnes said. “They make a big mess.”

The astronomers discovered the gas cloud as part of a survey of 300 large gas clouds using the Australia Telescope National Facility’s 22-meter Mopra radio telescope in southeastern Australia. The telescope’s world-class spectrometer allows astronomers to identify and image carbon monoxide and other molecules in large gas clouds. Even with that technology, the mega star birthing cloud was the only one of its kind among the 300 surveyed.

The cloud is also unusual in its rapid pace of collapse and the amount of dust and gas, an amount so large it eclipsed the large stars that had already coalesced inside the cloud. “It is a few light years across, and it has maybe 20,000 times the sun’s mass worth of gas and dust, and most of that is participating in the collapse,” Barnes said.

Media Contact
Aaron Hoover, ahoover@ufl.edu, 352-392-0186
Source
Peter Barnes, peterb@astro.ufl.edu

Aaron Hoover | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu

Further reports about: gas and dust gas clouds radio telescope star birth

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life
17.08.2017 | Goldschmidt Conference

nachricht Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors
17.08.2017 | American Institute of Physics

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>