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 Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons
27.06.2017 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

nachricht Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold
26.06.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>