Astronomers Witness a Star Being Born

Jun 17, 2010
Astronomers caught a glimpse of a future star just as it is being born out of the surrounding gas and dust, in a star-forming region similar to the one pictured above. (Photo: NASA, ESA)

(PhysOrg.com) -- Astronomers have glimpsed what could be the youngest known star at the very moment it is being born. Not yet fully developed into a true star, the object is in the earliest stages of star formation and has just begun pulling in matter from a surrounding envelope of gas and dust, according to a new study that appears in the current issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

The study's authors—who include astronomers from Yale University, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany—found the object using the Submillimeter Array in Hawaii and the . Known as L1448-IRS2E, it's located in the Perseus star-forming region, about 800 light years away within our galaxy.

Stars form out of large, cold, dense regions of gas and dust called molecular clouds, which exist throughout the galaxy. Astronomers think L1448-IRS2E is in between the prestellar phase, when a particularly dense region of a molecular cloud first begins to clump together, and the protostar phase, when gravity has pulled enough material together to form a dense, hot core out of the surrounding envelope.

"It's very difficult to detect objects in this phase of , because they are very short-lived and they emit very little light," said Xuepeng Chen, a postdoctoral associate at Yale and lead author of the paper. The team detected the faint light emitted by the dust surrounding the object.

Most protostars are between one to 10 times as luminous as the Sun, with large dust envelopes that glow at . Because L1448-IRS2E is less than one tenth as luminous as the Sun, the team believes the object is too dim to be considered a true protostar. Yet they also discovered that the object is ejecting streams of high-velocity gas from its center, confirming that some sort of preliminary mass has already formed and the object has developed beyond the prestellar phase. This kind of outflow is seen in protostars (as a result of the magnetic field surrounding the forming star), but has not been seen at such an early stage until now.

The team hopes to use the new Herchel space telescope, launched last May, to look for more of these objects caught between the earliest stages of so they can better understand how stars grow and evolve. "Stars are defined by their mass, but we still don't know at what stage of the formation process a star acquires most of its mass," said Héctor Arce, assistant professor of astronomy at Yale and an author of the paper. "This is one of the big questions driving our work."

Explore further: Eclipsing binary stars discovered by high school students

More information: DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/715/2/1344

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User comments : 40

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verkle
1.4 / 5 (22) Jun 17, 2010
The reason it has taken this long to "find" a star being born is because the stars were created, not born.
ScientistAmauterEnthusiast
5 / 5 (6) Jun 17, 2010
The reason it has taken this long to "find" a star being born is because the stars were created, not born.


Not sure if i am reading this right, are you trying to say someone made the stars? "created"
in7x
5 / 5 (6) Jun 17, 2010
Definitions of born on the Web: brought into existence

Definitions of create on the Web: bring into existence

Let's move on to something more worthy of our debate, like how we can squeeze some cold gas together here on earth and birth; create, our own stars.
PinkElephant
3.3 / 5 (7) Jun 18, 2010
The reason it has taken this long to "find" a star being born is because the stars were created, not born.
Seems like another victim of religious home-schooling. I suggest getting a /real/ education, for a change...
kevinrtrs
1.2 / 5 (19) Jun 18, 2010
The real interesting thing about believing in God is that when he does something in our physical world it looks like a natural occurrence to us.

Take the growth of a fungus for instance. All we see is something appearing on a damp wall and soon we can identify it as a fungus. We can even go and plant our own fungus on a damp patch on the same wall and make it grow too.

But God says in His word - in Leviticus [or Deuteronomy, not sure which, too lazy to look it up]-when giving instructions to Moses as to how to deal with it, that it is HE that makes it grow, for whatever reason.
In a similar fashion, God made ALL the stars and in fact in Isaiah it states that he named them all - each and everyone in all the 100s of billions of galaxies.
Now since we are lookin back in time it is quite possible that we'll see some of them being formed at the time of creation. But since we cannot detect God doing it, it'll appear to be some natural occurrence to us.
So,I'm not fazed by this news
kevinrtrs
Jun 18, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
lengould100
4.5 / 5 (8) Jun 18, 2010
Kevinrtrs says
God made ALL the stars and in fact in Isaiah it states that he named them all - each and everyone in all the 100s of billions of galaxies.
Now since we are lookin back in time it is quite possible that we'll see some of them being formed at the time of creation. But since we cannot detect God doing it, it'll appear to be some natural occurrence to us.


Ummmm, the article clearly states that the forming protostar which you think is being "created by a god" is only 400 light-years away. So are you contending that the entire universe was created only 400 years ago?
gwrede
3.9 / 5 (7) Jun 18, 2010
Trolls, Devil's Advocates.... what next?
Yaz
5 / 5 (6) Jun 18, 2010
But God says in His word - in Leviticus [or Deuteronomy, not sure which, too lazy to look it up]-when giving instructions to Moses as to how to deal with it, that it is HE that makes it grow, for whatever reason.
In a similar fashion, God made ALL the stars and in fact in Isaiah it states that he named them all - each and everyone in all the 100s of billions of galaxies.


Lol... thats some funny stuff for a science website. "It is because it is", why didn't i think of that.
HaveYouConsidered
4.5 / 5 (8) Jun 18, 2010
Kevinrtrs, you really need to get a better "science" book than that dusty old obsolete one you've been referring to.
Royale
5 / 5 (7) Jun 18, 2010
What a worthless comment for a science website. We're watching God create now? Just like the church has been proven wrong time and time again. (Heaven is in the clouds, then we built planes, so nope, wrong.) (We are the only lifeforms god created in his infinite wisdom, uhhm what was it a year ago that the vatican finally said hey there may be life on other planets!) Way to jump on the bandwagon about a century behind us. As long as the church or any church for that matter makes money, they'll keep feeding you guys crap; sadly some will eat it up, but more and more people are realizing how dumb it is to just listen to your parents and never question anything.
TopherTO
4.4 / 5 (8) Jun 18, 2010
Intentional ignorance is worse than the uneducated. If we simply dragged in the God argument each time we stumbled upon a new complex natural interaction, we'd still be living in the Dark Ages.

More than a connection with a "God" figure, humanity's curiosity and ingenuity lead us to construct these observational instruments.

Stop undermining the effort and sacrifice people make in these cutting edge observations by dragging in your reverence to YOUR God. I can't imagine the tedious man hours needed to find these gems of the cosmos.

Hard work and thirst for knowledge will bring us to understanding the cosmos, nothing else.
Donutz
3.5 / 5 (8) Jun 18, 2010
The reason it has taken this long to "find" a star being born is because the stars were created, not born.


Yes! The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the heavens using his Magic Pixie Dust (tm). BTW, he also created the bible to confound the foolish.

All Hail the Great Pasta!

HaveYouConsidered
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 18, 2010
We were all just discussing that ourselves, Donutz, while hanging out here around the beer volcano.
Donutz
2 / 5 (4) Jun 18, 2010
We were all just discussing that ourselves, Donutz, while hanging out here around the beer volcano.


Beer Volcano? You have a BEER VOLCANO?????? #()$&#$ WHERE????

HaveYouConsidered
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 18, 2010
It's just around the corner from the stripper factory.
Donutz
Jun 18, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 18, 2010
Believing in God also means you're an atheist. I'm simply more of an atheist than you are, kev and verk (probably the same person). I jsut don't have a belief in one more God than you do.

Once you're capable of applying the logic you use to disregard other religions to your own religion, then we'll have something to talk about.

In the mean time, leave the science to objective people.
HaveYouConsidered
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 18, 2010
No Donuz, it's really true! Look here now (from Wiki):

The Pastafarian belief of Heaven contains a beer volcano and a stripper factory.[27] The Pastafarian Hell is similar, except that the beer is stale and the strippers have sexually transmitted diseases.[29]
Donutz
4.5 / 5 (8) Jun 18, 2010
... that it is HE that makes it grow, for whatever reason.

So God makes the fungus grow by "faking" normal biological processes; he simulates random chance when forcing the dice to fall a certain way; he pretends that laws of physics exist when he actively supports cell phone calls; and he's actually the one who 'cured' someone when a doctor removes a tumor. The trouble with this stance is that it is indistinguishable from a universe where there is no god and things actually do happen according to physical laws. In that case, a god who does hands-on is basically useless -- praying to him is a waste of time since he'll let things happen according to how the dice would fall anyway, and worshipping him is a waste of time since he does what he does according to the laws he's simulating, not according to your entreaties. It's turtles all the way down.
Royale
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 18, 2010
Oh SNAP Donutz, coming out of the wood work to plow marjon... Like some of us have been doing for over a year now. I love it. Any time there's an actual argument here without someone using any foul language it's nothing short of remarkable. There's finally a website that people with a brain go to. (And it's pretty darn exclusive here too.) Think about it. If you were braindead you couldnt make it past the first paragraph of most of these stories and actually wax any understanding from them. Anyway bravo and welcome Donutz!
daveib6
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 18, 2010
Here Here, Royale. I was raised in an evengelical creationist propogandizing religious family and studying science has helped me to understand the fundamental laws of physics to a degree that forced me to question everything. I now know that a true and complete understanding of physics is simply impossible for a 'believer' to grasp. Please, oh please, you unworthy creationists, stop submitting on a scientific site like this one. Go and get yourself an education in science, then when you understand all of science from biology to archeology, from quantum physics to astronomy, then come back and try to support your position. I dare say you won't be able to.
CaptBarbados
3 / 5 (2) Jun 19, 2010
Maybe if we changed perspective, all this would make sense... Not that we believe in God, but that all of this is alive, perhaps? Just not from our objective, scientific perspective.

But then, it would make our total human existence the equivalent of coming to be "fleas on an elephants butt".
MarkyMark
5 / 5 (1) Jun 19, 2010
Where do these GodTrolls come from? Perhaps the All Mighty Pasta god can tell us.
HaveYouConsidered
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 19, 2010
The godtrolls are reality-blind, MarkyMark, many actively so. So it's like getting into a debate about blue vs. red with someone who is blind from birth yet still harbors a strong faith-based opinion on what color must be, though having never seen it. Just not worth getting one's blood pressure up about. Remember, His Noodlyness creates them for His and our entertainment.
omatumr
1 / 5 (4) Jun 19, 2010
How many star births were observed?

How old was the fellow when he stopped observing and started writing?

Tangent2
Jun 19, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
FredJose
1.4 / 5 (9) Jun 20, 2010
Perhaps some of you who are so anti-God should do well to remember that no-one really understands the things of this world we live in. We simply THINK we do.

Is there anyone here who totally, completely KNOWS what gravity is?

Does anyone have the total knowledge about what it is that makes magnetism what it is? And just what IS magnetism while we're at it?

For that matter, what is an electron, or a proton, or a neutron and what really constitutes "charge"?

Perhaps you might want to reconsider your great and profound knowledge of science and humble yourselves before declaring you know it all.

Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Jun 20, 2010
I can answer two of those questions right now. In about 5 years I'll probably be able to answer them all.

In 5 years you'll still think whoever the current president is might have been sent by the devil and as such you'll be trying to wage war against your fellow man because something happened somewhere else that you aren't comfortable with when sitting in church.

I can only hope that the rapture is real, we need a world free of christians, and that'd be the fastest way to get rid of you all.
ShotmanMaslo
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2010
The idea that God has to somehow create stars, life, etc. by himself is quite stupid. God, if she exists, established basic natural laws, and let the universe create itself. We see the evidence of it everywhere - there is no gods hand, only natural processes - therefore natural processes are the tool of creation.

"Now since we are lookin back in time it is quite possible that we'll see some of them being formed at the time of creation."

Stars are forming even now, and will be forming in the future. The creation has not ended yet, and as long as the universe exist, it will not end. Because creation and the universe are the same - and we are meant not to study only the created universe, but the process of creation itself...
omatumr
1 / 5 (5) Jun 20, 2010
Perhaps some of you who are so anti-God should do well to remember that no-one really understands the things of this world we live in. We simply THINK we do.


I agree. We live in a very strange and dangerous period of time.

Politicians have learned to use grant funds to produce consensus opinions and consensus opinions are worshiped as "mainstream" and therefore valid.

This is a very strange and dangerous period of time.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel


Ashibayai
not rated yet Jun 20, 2010
Perhaps some of you who are so anti-God should do well to remember that no-one really understands the things of this world we live in. We simply THINK we do.

Is there anyone here who totally, completely KNOWS what gravity is?

Does anyone have the total knowledge about what it is that makes magnetism what it is? And just what IS magnetism while we're at it?

For that matter, what is an electron, or a proton, or a neutron and what really constitutes "charge"?

Perhaps you might want to reconsider your great and profound knowledge of science and humble yourselves before declaring you know it all.



There aren't many who claim to know it all. Many of us are agnostic. Some of us to different degrees than others. Like all belief systems, it has a lot of gray areas...
TehDog
5 / 5 (3) Jun 20, 2010
Perhaps some of you who are so anti-God should do well to remember that no-one really understands the things of this world we live in. We simply THINK we do.

Is there anyone here who totally, completely KNOWS what gravity is?

Does anyone have the total knowledge about what it is that makes magnetism what it is? And just what IS magnetism while we're at it?

For that matter, what is an electron, or a proton, or a neutron and what really constitutes "charge"?

Perhaps you might want to reconsider your great and profound knowledge of science and humble yourselves before declaring you know it all.


Some of us are actively seeking answers, some are relying on some old books of myths and fables, with a smattering of possibly historical significance.
I don't *know it all*, but I *will* attempt to understand the universe using knowledge gleaned, and lessons learned, from the scientific method.
omatumr
1 / 5 (6) Jun 20, 2010
Perhaps some of you who are so anti-God should do well to remember that no-one really understands the things of this world we live in. We simply THINK we do.


You are right, Fred Jose.

Why do like charges repel?
Why do unlike charges attract?
Why do electrons form pairs in atomic orbitals?
Why do protons form pairs in inside the nucleus?
Why do neutrons repel each other (Neutron repulsion)?
Why do neutrons and protons attract each other?
Why do neutrons form pairs in inside the nucleus?
Why does the Sun discard 50,000 billion metric tons of H each year, if the Sun is powered by H-fusion?

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Emeritus Professor
Nuclear & Space Sciences
Former NASA Principal Investigator for Apollo
Lao Tzu: "To know that you do not know is best,
To pretend to know what you do not know is a disease."
Skeptic_Heretic
4.8 / 5 (6) Jun 21, 2010
Why do like charges repel?
To lower potential energy. U=k(q1)(q2)/r
Why do unlike charges attract?
Same reason.
Why do electrons form pairs in atomic orbitals?
They don't, nor do they orbit anything.
Why do protons form pairs in inside the nucleus?
They don't again, you're not paying attention to physics fundamentals.
Why do neutrons repel each other (Neutron repulsion)?
Neutrons do not repel each other. The only source of this statement is a paper by you. Abstract here: http://www.physor...658.html
Why do neutrons and protons attract each other?
Mass attraction.
Why do neutrons form pairs in inside the nucleus?
Mass attraction.
Why does the Sun discard 50,000 billion metric tons of H each year, if the Sun is powered by H-fusion?
Why does methane get blasted out in a tank explosion? Exactly, your forces and vectoring is entirely off.

I thought you knew something about physics.
Royale
5 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2010
Oh Skeptic. Sometimes you just make my day. And by the way guys, as Ashibayai pointed out, many of us are agnostic. I'm not saying there isn't an afterlife. Hell, I hope there's something more. But honestly, I don't think much about it. Why should one persons religion hold more power than anothers? Honestly? There's no logical answer to that, other than to say to yourself, "hey they can all hold weight." Hell, scientology is now accepted as a religion. Are there any religious people who don't have issue with that one? (It was created by a sci-fi author who was quoted as saying, "[sic] If you want to make real money? Create a religion..."). Honestly the real people interested in science here don't have any hardcore beliefs and in fact believe that's the problem. Once you put too much faith in anything you're doomed.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Jun 21, 2010
Perhaps you might want to reconsider your great and profound knowledge of science and humble yourselves before declaring you know it all.

Hey Fred, last I checked we're saying we don't know what caused certain things. You were the one claiming with absolute certainty that a being, that somehopw doesn't have a creator went forth and created everything using incantations and magic.

Who's claiming total knowledge? You are.

Who isn't? Science.
Donutz
5 / 5 (3) Jun 21, 2010
Perhaps some of you who are so anti-God should do well to remember ...... Perhaps you might want to reconsider your great and profound knowledge of science and humble yourselves before declaring you know it all.


We're not ANTI-GOD. We're ANTI-CREATIONIST. Please try to conceptualize the difference. Some of us are atheists, some are not. But we're all irritated by theists who come on and act like they have all the answers, then make dumb-ass comments like that "humble yourselves" bit up there. The only people on this thread who have presented themselves as having all the answers are the creationists. And just to make the point, the only reason you know enough to make those comments about gravity, magnetism, and subatomic particles is because of SCIENCE articles where SCIENTISTS (not preachers) clearly state that we don't have it all figured out.

Nice try, though.
omatumr
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 22, 2010
As noted earlier, "To know that you do not know is best,
To pretend to know what you do not know is a disease."
Lao Tzu
barakn
5 / 5 (5) Jun 22, 2010
The first step to recovery, Manuel, is to recognize that you are diseased.
Donutz
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 22, 2010
As noted earlier, "To know that you do not know is best,
To pretend to know what you do not know is a disease."
Lao Tzu


That is very true, and creationists (and theists in general) are the best example.

omatumr
1 / 5 (4) Jun 22, 2010
As noted earlier, "To know that you do not know is best,
To pretend to know what you do not know is a disease."
Lao Tzu


That is very true, and creationists (and theists in general) are the best example.



The quote allows the closed minded to identify themselves.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Donutz
5 / 5 (1) Jun 23, 2010
The quote allows the closed minded to identify themselves.


Weak.