Unravelling the Mystery of Massive Star Birth: All Stars are Born the Same Way (w/ Video)

Jul 14, 2010
Astronomers have been able to obtain the first image of a dusty disc closely encircling a massive baby star, providing direct evidence that massive stars do form in the same way as their smaller brethren — and closing an enduring debate. The flared disc extends to about 130 times the Earth-Sun distance — or astronomical units (AU) — and has a mass similar to that of the star, roughly twenty times the Sun. In addition, the inner parts of the disc are shown to be devoid of dust. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser

(PhysOrg.com) -- Astronomers have obtained the first image of a dusty disc closely encircling a massive baby star, providing direct evidence that massive stars form in the same way as their smaller brethren. This discovery, made thanks to a combination of ESO's telescopes, is described in an article in this week's issue of Nature.

"Our observations show a disc surrounding an embryonic young, massive star, which is now fully formed," says Stefan Kraus, who led the study. "One can say that the baby is about to hatch!"

The team of astronomers looked at an object known by the cryptic name of IRAS 13481-6124. About twenty times the mass of our Sun and five times its radius, the young central star, which is still surrounded by its pre-natal cocoon, is located in the constellation of Centaurus, about 10 000 light-years away.

From archival images obtained by the NASA as well as from observations done with the APEX 12-metre submillimetre telescope, astronomers discovered the presence of a jet.

"Such jets are commonly observed around young low-mass and generally indicate the presence of a disc," says Kraus.

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Astronomers have been able to obtain the first image of a dusty disc closely encircling a massive baby star, providing direct evidence that massive stars do form in the same way as their smaller brethren — and closing an enduring debate. The team of astronomers looked at an object, known by the cryptic name of IRAS 13481-6124. About twenty times the mass of our Sun and five times its radius, the young central star, which is still surrounded by its pre-natal cocoon, is located in the constellation of Centaurus, about 10 000 light-years away. Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2/Spitzer/NASA/JPL/S. Kraus

Circumstellar discs are an essential ingredient in the formation process of low-mass stars such as our Sun. However, it is not known whether such discs are also present during the formation of stars more massive than about ten solar masses, where the strong light emitted might prevent mass falling onto the star. For instance, it has been proposed that might form when smaller stars merge.

In order to discover and understand the properties of this disc, astronomers employed ESO's Very Large (VLTI). By combining light from three of the VLTI's 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes with the AMBER instrument, this facility allows astronomers to see details equivalent to those a telescope with a mirror of 85 metres in diameter would see. The resulting resolution is about 2.4 milliarcseconds, which is equivalent to picking out the head of a screw on the International Space Station, or more than ten times the resolution possible with current visible-light telescopes in space.

With this unique capability, complemented by observations done with another of ESO's telescopes, the 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope at La Silla, Kraus and colleagues were able to detect a disc around IRAS 13481-6124.

"This is the first time we could image the inner regions of the disc around a massive young star", says Kraus. "Our observations show that formation works the same for all stars, regardless of mass."

Astronomers have been able to obtain the first image of a dusty disc closely encircling a massive baby star, providing direct evidence that massive stars do form in the same way as their smaller brethren —and closing an enduring debate. In order to discover and understand the properties of this disc, the astronomers employed ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). By combining the light from three of the VLTI’s 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes with the AMBER instrument, this facility allows astronomers to see details equivalent to those a telescope with a mirror of 85 metres in diameter would see. The resulting resolution is about 2.4 milliarcseconds, which is equivalent to picking out the head of a screw on the International Space Station. Credit: ESO/S. Kraus

The astronomers conclude that the system is about 60 000 years old, and that the star has reached its final mass. Because of the intense light of the star — 30 000 times more luminous than our Sun — the disc will soon start to evaporate. The flared disc extends to about 130 times the Earth-Sun distance — or 130 astronomical units (AU) — and has a mass similar to that of the star, roughly twenty times the Sun. In addition, the inner parts of the disc are shown to be devoid of dust.

"Further observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), currently being constructed in Chile, could provide much information on these inner parts, and allow us to better understand how baby massive stars became heavy," concludes Kraus.

This research was presented in a paper to appear in this week issue of Nature (“A hot compact dust disk around a massive young stellar object”, by S. Kraus et al.).

Explore further: The origins of local planetary orbits

More information: Research paper: www.eso.org/public/archives/re… /eso1029/eso1029.pdf

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User comments : 27

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barakn
5 / 5 (7) Jul 14, 2010
It would be nice if the first image could be tagged as an artist's rendition.
omatumr
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 14, 2010
That is a neutron star in the center. There is a another at the center of another star, about 1 AU from planet Earth.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
Parsec
4 / 5 (9) Jul 14, 2010
That is a neutron star in the center. There is a another at the center of another star, about 1 AU from planet Earth.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo

With all respect, neutron stars have at least 3 times the mass of the sun. I suspect they would be detectable inside the inner solar system (1 AU < 100 million miles). They could not radiate enough energy to be what we are seeing (radius = 10-20 miles). Impossible.
omatumr
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 14, 2010
No, Parsec, that is popular myth.

Neutron repulsion causes neutron stars to emit neutrons. The mass of the star decreases as they age. These neutrons then quickly decay to Hydrogen.

Hydrogen is "smoke" from the solar engine and the source of the solar wind Hydrogen that pours from the Sun -- just as the engine of an automobile is the source of the CO2 pours from the tailpipe of a car.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 14, 2010
Neutron repulsion does not exist.
omatumr
1.9 / 5 (9) Jul 14, 2010
Several peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals document neutron repulsion [e.g., "The Sun is a plasma diffuser that sorts atoms by mass", Physics of Atomic Nuclei 69 (2006) 1847-1856].

Neutron repulsion is recorded as mass (stored energy) in nuclear rest mass data for every nucleus with two or more neutrons.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
omatumr
1.8 / 5 (10) Jul 14, 2010
Neutron repulsion does not exist.


Do you have a better explanation for cosmioc explosions, fragmentation, and today's PhysOrg news story, "Record-breaking X-ray blast briefly blinds space observatory."

Oliver K. Manuel
rwinners
3 / 5 (2) Jul 15, 2010
Bah humbug. Someone tell me if that remaining halo is the beginnings of a solar system.
Baseline
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 15, 2010
If one can not remain objective when new ideas or theories are proposed then one has lost the ability to do science of any kind.

Question everything, accept nothing as fact or law, especially those ideas and theories that are deeply held.

It has happened over and over in science that an idea or theory that was thought to be outrageous or completely implausible turned out to be supported by observation and experiment.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) Jul 15, 2010
Several peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals document neutron repulsion

All of which were written by you and none of which have been published in peer-review journals. The Yadernaya Fizika is not considered a peer review journal. They publish just about anyt5hing sent to them.
Donutz
4 / 5 (4) Jul 15, 2010
All of which were written by you and none of which have been published in peer-review journals.


Whaddaya mean? He's his own peer (safe bet no one else wants to be) and he's reviewed his own stuff, and found it brilliant. Bada-bing bada-boom. Peer-reviewed.
Donutz
5 / 5 (4) Jul 15, 2010

Do you have a better explanation for cosmioc explosions, fragmentation, and today's PhysOrg news story, "Record-breaking X-ray blast briefly blinds space observatory."

Yes, as explained in the article. All supported by mathematical models and consistent with these and other observations. As opposed to your ideas which are no more explanatory, falsifiable, or rigorously supported than a claim that "god did it".
omatumr
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 15, 2010
All of which were written by you and none of which have been published in peer-review journals. The Yadernaya Fizika is not considered a peer review journal. They publish just about anyt5hing sent to them


SK - You may want to submit your comment to Yadernaya Fizika after you have compared the drawing at the top of this report with the drawing shown in Figure 5 of the paper "Earth's heat source - the Sun" [Energy & Environment 20 (2009) 137] and list of publications cited in comments on another PhysOrg news report about a year ago: "New findings on the birth of the solar system."

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo

omatumr
2 / 5 (8) Jul 15, 2010
As the Climategate scandal unfolds, new moments of intellectual honesty are appearing in seemingly remote fields of science – like the birth of stars In the manner proposed in the mid-1970s for our Sun – Earth’s heat source [Science 195, 208-209 (1977); Proceedings of the Robert Welch Foundation Conference on Chemical Research XII. Cosmochemistry, pages 263-272 (1978); Nature 277, 615-620 (1979)]

As the Climategate scandal continues to unfold and expose corruption at the source of public funding, I expect other sudden moments of truth in science. Hopefully the moment of truth will appear soon for neutron repulsion - the energy source that is recorded in nuclear rest mass data for all nuclei with two or more neutrons - the energy source that powers the Sun and the cosmos.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (6) Jul 15, 2010
You consistently display the characteristics of a man who has turned away from pure science and ventured into pseudoscience through zealotous conviction.
omatumr
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 15, 2010
Let's try to focus on science, not personalities.

May I suggest that you start by reading the peer-reviewed 1979 paper, "Isotopes of tellurium, xenon and krypton in the Allende meteorite retain record of nucleosynthesis" [Nature 277 (1979) 615-620].

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
Skeptic_Heretic
2 / 5 (2) Jul 15, 2010
Let's try to focus on science, not personalities.

May I suggest that you start by reading the peer-reviewed 1979 paper, "Isotopes of tellurium, xenon and krypton in the Allende meteorite retain record of nucleosynthesis" [Nature 277 (1979) 615-620].

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo

Why would you be recommending this reading unless you were supporting panspermia? Entirely non-sequitor.
barakn
5 / 5 (2) Jul 15, 2010
That paper has nothing to do with panspermia or even biology.
omatumr
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 15, 2010
"All Stars Are Born The Same Way" is the title of the 14 July 2010 news report from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.

That finding and the above drawing show that other stars formed in the same way concluded ~30-35 years ago for the Sun - on the collapsed core of the precursor star [1-5].

1. "Elemental and isotopic inhomogeneities in noble gases: The case for local synthesis of the chemical elements", Transactions Missouri Academy Sciences 9, 104-122 (1975).

2. "Xenon record of the early solar system", Nature 262, 28-32 (1976) .

3. "Strange xenon, extinct super-heavy elements, and the solar neutrino puzzle", Science 195, 208-209 (1977).

4. Proceedings of the Robert Welch Foundation Conference on Chemical Research XII. Cosmochemistry (Robert Welch Foundation Conference, 1978) pages 263-272.

5. "Isotopes of tellurium, xenon and krypton in the Allende meteorite retain record of nucleosynthesis", Nature 277, 615-620 (1979).

Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Jul 16, 2010
Well,
My two cents, then: what about a situation in which a truly massive star is formed from an extra-dense cloud, which is being compressed by the radiation from a roughly spherical surround of new stars, and the infall rate of which occurs faster than the rotational buildup of accretion-disk formation?

Is that a possibility, or has this observation just definitively ruled it out? I didn't get any sense of this from the article.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 16, 2010
That paper has nothing to do with panspermia or even biology.
Quite right, I made a mistake. However, this paper itself is a thinly veiled attempt to distract from the actual observations of the sun and drives us into a fantasy land of assuming that the sun is a previously exploded supernova.

Oliver, I agree that our solar system is composed of the remnants of dead stars. I do not agree that our solar system encompasses said neutron star because it is utterly impossible for us to be having this conversation if that was the case.
gwrede
3.5 / 5 (4) Jul 17, 2010
I am insulted by the editors' sloppiness or indifference, that has resulted in the first image not being acknowledged as an artist's rendition.

This is supposed to be a site for non-professionals who are interested in science. Now, a picture can lie more than a thousand words. And, it acutally will, anytime an artist does a rendering, no matter how "meticulous" the artist believes himself to be. After all, he's an artist, not a scinetist.

THE WORST THING about this particular picture is, that it's not immediately recoginzable as an artist's rendition, without reading the accompanying story. WHICH ONLY adds upon the onus on the editors.

I'm disgusted.
frajo
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2010
Now, a picture can lie more than a thousand words.
That's what pictures are made for - in a profit-centered world.
Anyhow, it's a beautiful artist's rendition. I like SF.
omatumr
1 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2010
The title of the article, the drawing, and the video suggest that ALL stars - including the Sun - have recycled and reformed on the collapsed core of a precursor star.

That same scenario was reported for the birth of the Sun in 1977 ["Strange xenon, extinct superheavy elements and the solar neutrino puzzle", Science 195, 208-209 (1977)].

It was confirmed by numerous other analysis [Nature 277, 615-620 (1979); Meteoritics 15, 117-138 (1980); Geochemical Journal 15, 247-267 (1981); Meteoritics 18, 209-222 (1983); . . . ESA SP-517, pages 345-348 (2003); . . . Physics of Atomic Nuclei 69, 1847-1856 (2006); Energy & Environment 20 (2009) 133-141.

Nature itself acknowledged "The demise of established dogmas on the formation of the Solar System ", Nature 303 (1983) 286. Then for unknown reasons, Nature seemed to back away from publishing any papers on the supernova birth of the solar system.

See report "Sun Rediscovered by Nature", Tallbloke's Talkshop [17 July 2010]

Oliver K. Manuel
Jigga
1 / 5 (5) Jul 18, 2010
Black holes are doing jets and dust rings around them, which are known as a galaxies. It seems, these features are really independent to scale, they're rather geometric feature of space-time deforms.

http://tinyurl.com/yfkq9rw

The more dense star explodes, the sharper angle it jet has and the wider angle has the resulting central disk.
omatumr
1 / 5 (4) Jul 18, 2010
Professor Solanki just informed me that his report [See: "Sun Rediscovered by Nature", Tallbloke's Talkshop, 17 July 2010]:

1. Was meant for his solar physics colleagues, and

2. Has "nothing to do with . . . a change in Nature's policy about the Sun producing global warning."

The report ["Sun Rediscovered by Nature", Tallbloke's Talkshop, 17 July 2010] suggests that Leslie Sage was the editor that made the policy change.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Jul 18, 2010
http: //tinyurl.com/...
Just another aetherwavetheory-dot-info picture.