A new(ish) star is born

Aug 29, 2011
A new(ish) star is born
AP Columbae

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers have uncovered a new stellar neighbour with the discovery of the closest young star to Earth.

The international team, including Simon Murphy, a final-year PhD student from the ANU Research School of , have shown that the star, named AP Columbae, is the closest so-called `pre main-sequence’ star. Their paper has been published this week in The Astronomical Journal.

“Pre main-sequence stars are much younger than the Sun. Using telescopes in Coonabarabran, Chile, Hawaii and California we have shown that the faint, red-dwarf star AP Columbae is the closest such star to the ,” said Mr Murphy.

“For decades it was believed that only resided in vast star-forming regions like the Orion Nebula. These regions are typically several hundred light years away from the Earth. With the advent of accurate, all-sky surveys we can now find young stars much closer to home.”

AP Columbae, an otherwise innocuous red-dwarf star in the constellation of Columba is a comparably close 27-light-years away from Earth and approximately 40 million years old.

“To put that into perspective, it means this star was formed after the dinosaurs became extinct and when mammals first started to become dominant on Earth,” Mr Murphy said.

The star is the newest member of a group of young stars known as the Argus Association. The age and close proximity of AP Columbae make it a prime candidate for getting good images.

“Because AP Columbae is so close we are able to hunt for giant gas planets at high resolution, close to the star. Later this year we are hoping to use the eight metre Gemini South telescope in Chile to observe any planets that might be present.”

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omatumr
1 / 5 (2) Aug 30, 2011
Thanks for the interesting report.

How do they know the star's "age" ?

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

d_robison
5 / 5 (3) Aug 30, 2011
Thanks for the interesting report.

How do they know the star's "age" ?

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel



Generally they would get that information from looking at a stars' luminosity, mass, and surface temperature. From there they can get a rough idea of how long that particular star will live by classifying it using a Hertzsprung-Russell type diagram. Finally after determining what type of star it is, they can make an estimate on how far along that star is in its life.

Other than that I would assume they would try to identify the percentages of H, He, etc. giving them another way of indirectly estimating its age.
omatumr
1 / 5 (6) Aug 30, 2011
Thanks for the interesting report.

How do they know the star's "age" ?

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel



Generally they would get that information from looking at a stars' luminosity, mass, and surface temperature. From there they can get a rough idea of how long that particular star will live by classifying it using a Hertzsprung-Russell type diagram. Finally after determining what type of star it is, they can make an estimate on how far along that star is in its life.

Other than that I would assume they would try to identify the percentages of H, He, etc. giving them another way of indirectly estimating its age.


Those age estimates assume the validity of the nebula model of star formation from interstellar clouds of H,He.

That model is probably wrong [1,2].

1."Neutron Repulsion" (2011)

http://arxiv.org/...2.1499v1

2. "Is the Universe Expanding?" (2011)

http://journalofc...102.html
yyz
5 / 5 (3) Aug 30, 2011
Recently the star HD 61005 was ID as another probable member of the nearby Argus Association: http://arxiv.org/...33v1.pdf

Previously, the Spitzer Space Telescope had noted an IR-excess from this star and a debris disk, with possible indications of yet undetected planets, has been observed using Hubble and ESO's VLT. This solar-type star, at a distance of about 35pc, is also estimated to be ~40 million years old.

Both of these systems (AP Columbae & HD 61005) may contain very young, IR-bright planets, and as noted in the article and paper, future followup searches with large telescopes are planned.