Hungry Baby Stars Are Nourished In Their Stellar Nursery

Fiery baby stars are born within dark and frigid stellar nurseries that are tenderly tucked within the amorphous, swirling, whirling folds of beautiful, giant molecular clouds. These strange and numerous clouds are widely dispersed throughout our Milky Way Galaxy. Primarily composed of hydrogen, along with lesser amounts of dust, these phantom-like star-birthing clouds contain the mass of thousands, or even millions, of Suns–and they hide dense blobs that are embedded like black pearls in their mysterious, undulating folds, that eventually condense to give birth to new, brilliant, voracious baby stars. In February 2016, an international team of astronomers, led by researchers at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) in Taiwan, announced that they have used a new infrared imaging technique to unveil the first dramatic, hidden, and secret moments of star and planet birth. These seem to occur when ambient material somersaults down to very active neonatal stars, which then feed hungrily on it, even as they remain hidden within their nurturing natal nursery clouds. 바카라사이트

The team of scientists used the High Contrast Instrument for the Subaru Next-Generation Adaptive Optics (HICIAO) camera on the Subaru 8-meter Telescope in Hawaii to observe a batch of beautiful baby stars. The results of their research sheds new light on our scientific understanding of how stars and planets form.

A molecular cloud, which is a type of interstellar cloud, is sometimes called a stellar nursery–if star-birth is occurring within it. The density and size of these clouds enable the formation of molecules–mostly molecular hydrogen (H2). This contrasts with other areas of the space between stars that contain mostly ionized gas.

Within our Milky Way Galaxy, molecular clouds account for less than one percent of the volume of the interstellar medium (ISM), and yet they also represent the densest portion of the medium, comprising approximately 50% of the total gas mass interior to our Sun’s Galactic orbit. Most of the molecular gas is located within a ring that is between 11,000 and 24,000 light-years from the central heart of our Galaxy.

As time goes by, gravity in the densest parts of these dark, phantom-like clouds pulls in the surrounding gas and dust, resulting in what is termed accretion. It is generally assumed that this process is continuous and smooth. However, this steady downpour of gas and dust explains only a small percentage of the final mass of each sparkling baby star that is born within the folds of these strange clouds. Astronomers are still hard at work trying to gain an understanding of when and how the remaining material is collected during the process of star and planet birth.

Most of the infalling nourishing gas and dust tumbles into the center to become the baby star, or protostar. The extremely hot core of the protostar is situated in the very heart of the collapsing blob of dense material. Three-dimensional supercomputer simulations show that the swirling blobs of collapsing dust and gas fragment into two or three separate portions. This explains why most of the stars in our own Milky Way dwell in binary and multiple star systems, rather than being solitary–like our lonely Sun. As the blob collapses under the relentless pull of its own gravity, the seething hot core takes shape and begins to pull in gas and dust. But not all of this material becomes part of the new star. The remaining material that circles around the baby star may become planets, moons, comets, and asteroids–or it may merely hang around the newborn star as dust.


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