Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Explosive growth of young star

04.12.2013
A star is formed when a large cloud of gas and dust condenses and eventually becomes so dense that it collapses into a ball of gas, where the pressure heats the matter, creating a glowing gas ball – a star is born.

New research from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, shows that a young, newly formed star in the Milky Way had such an explosive growth, that it was initially about 100 times brighter than it is now. The results are published in the scientific journal, Astrophysical Journal Letters.


The picture shows the young protostar in the center surrounded by the gas and dust cloud. The red color shows the organic molecule, methanol, for which the radiation is concentrated close to the center. The blue color shows the HCO+ molecule with a clear extended ring-structure. The inner yellow ring is an indication where the temperature is 100 degrees above the absolute zero (-173 C) with the current luminosity of the star while the outer yellow ring shows where this temperature was reached when the star was a hundred times brighter.

Credit: (Credit: Jes Jørgensen (Niels Bohr Institute).

The young star was formed within the past 100,000 years in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Using the large international telescope, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile, an international research team led by Jes Jørgensen from the Niels Bohr Institute studied the star and its surroundings.

"We studied the chemistry of the gas and dust cloud surrounding the early protostar (an early stage of star formation). In this dense cloud, a chemical reaction takes place that enables the formation of several kinds of complex molecules, including methanol. One would expect that all of the molecules would be near the star, but with one of them we saw a clear ring structure. Something had removed a certain molecule, HCO+, from a wide area around the protostar, explains astrophysicist Jes Jørgensen, Associate Professor at the Niels

Bohr Institute and the Centre for Star and Planet Formation at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He explains that what is special about the HCO+ molecule is that it is particularly sensitive to water vapour. Even small amounts of water vapour dissolve the molecule and the absence of HCO+ molecule can be used to discover what happened during the star formation process.

Violent eruption of light and heat

At first, the gas and dust cloud is extremely cold and simple molecules such as carbon monoxide and water settle on the grains of dust and solidify into ice. Here, where the molecules are close to each other, they bond together to form more complex molecules like methanol, ethanol, simple sugars, etc. and water in the form of ice. The gravity of the early protostar attracts much of the surrounding gas and dust cloud and when the material falls close to the young star, it slows down and the energy is converted into heat. This heat melts the ice, which turns into water vapour.

"From the area where the HCO+ molecule has been dissolved by water vapour we can now calculate how bright the young star has been. It turns out that that the area is much greater than expected compared to the star's current brightness. The protostar has been up 100 times brighter than the star is now. From the chemistry we can also say that this change happened within the last 100-1000 years – that is to say, very recently from an astronomical point of view," explains Jes Jørgensen.

Such an eruption of hot brightness can also explain the content of condensed methanol and the high content of molecules with carbon, as found in the gas cloud. This could also have a great influence on the chemical processes that lead to the formation of complex organic molecules that can later be incorporated into planetary systems. Jes Jørgensen believes that there has not only been a single burst of light and heat radiation, but that it could happen several times during the formation process.

"One of the major questions if we take a long view, is whether this is a common phenomenon – whether all young stars undergo similar 'eruptions' and if so, how often," wonders Jes Jørgensen, who as a scientist is always on the hunt to solve more of the mysteries of the universe.

For more information contact:

Jes Jørgensen, astrophysicist, Associate Professor at the Niels Bohr Institute and the Centre for Star and Planet Formation at the University of Copenhagen. +45 4250-9970, jeskj@nbi.dk

Gertie Skaarup | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nbi.dk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star
23.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

nachricht Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology
22.08.2017 | Université libre de Bruxelles

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

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>