The Atacama Large Millimeter Array Telescope (ALMA) from northern Chile captured a series of breathtaking images of the moment when a star comes into being. They snapped the exact moment of the explosion which led to the apparition of the new star.
Understanding the birth of stars
Using these images, astronomers will be able to acquire a better understanding of the process of star formation. They can look at the debris which formed after the explosion to understand what happens when two stars collide.
The images were captured in the Orion Molecular Cloud (OMC-1), which belongs to the Orion Nebula. This is one of the places where stars are formed, situated 1,350 light-years away from Earth. In such a ‘stellar nursery’, the first that come into being are protostars. This happened around 100,000 years ago.
These protostars constantly gather mass, which brings them closer to each other. Around 500 years ago, two stars got so close that they even touched. This caused a tremendous eruption which released more energy than the sun could produce in 10 million years.
Such an explosion sent the other protostars in the nursery many miles away at an impressive speed of about 93 miles per second. This process also sent gas and dust into space into massive streams which formed the bursting picture.
Stellar explosion both at the death and birth of stars
The scientists analyzed this star formation in a paper, published in the Astrophysical Journal. Their study of the stellar debris started in 2009, when they first observed it using the Submillimeter Array Telescope from Hawaii. Then, they saw how the streams of gas and dust extended until they reached almost one light-year.
Usually, stellar explosions were observed in older stars, in the case of dying stars and supernovas. However, this discovery showed that such explosions can also occur during star births. It offered the astronomers a new insight on this almost unknown domain and also entertained them with an amazing view.
The images also show how molecules of carbon monoxide are distributed among the gas streams and how they moved. Thus, they can understand how powerful the explosion was and what it might influence the formation of other stars in the same galaxy.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons