Newly formed stars shoot out powerful whirlwinds

December 14, 2016, Niels Bohr Institute
ALMA observations of a young protostar about 450 light years away. Using these images, astronomers from the Niels Bohr Institute have for the first time been able to study how a whirlwind is lifted from a rotating disk of dust and gas surrounding the young star. Blue colour indicates gas that is moving towards us while the red colour indicates gas moving away from us. Credit: P. Bjerkeli et al./ESASky/ESAC, Spain

Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute have used the ALMA telescopes to observe the early stages in the formation of a new solar system. For the first time they have seen how a powerful whirlwind shoot out from the rotating disc of gas and dust surrounding the young star. The results have been published in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature.

A new solar system is formed in a large cloud of gas and dust that contracts and condenses due to the force of gravity and eventually becomes so compact that the centre collapses into a ball of gas where the pressure heats the material, resulting in a glowing globe of gas, a star. The remains of the gas and dust cloud rotate around the newly formed star in disc where the material starts to accumulate and form larger and larger clumps, which finally become planets.

In connection with the newly formed stars, called protostars, researchers have observed powerful emanations of whirlwinds and outflows, so-called jets. But before now, no one had observed how these winds are formed.

"Using the ALMA telescopes, we have observed a protostar at a very early stage. We see how the wind, like a tornado, lifts material and gas up from the rotary disc, which is in the process of forming a new ," explains Per Bjerkeli, a postdoc in Astrophysics and Planetary Science at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

This is an artist impression of the whirlwind being liftet up from the protoplanetary disk around the approximately 100,000 year old protostar, TMC1A. Credit: Per Bjerkeli/David Lamm/BOID

Slows things down

The ALMA Observatory (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimetre Array) consists of 66 telescopes that observe with a resolution equivalent to a mirror with a diameter of up to16 km. The observed protostar is located 450 light years away. This is equivalent to 30 million times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. At this distance, the researchers have now observed details about protostars never seen before.

"During the contraction of the gas cloud, the material begins to rotate faster and faster just like a figure skater doing a pirouette spins faster by pulling their arms close to their body. In order slow down the rotation, the energy must be carried away. This happens when the new star emits wind. The wind is formed in the disc around the protostar and thus rotates together with it. When this rotating wind moves away from the protostar, it thus takes part of the rotational energy with it and the dust and gas close to the star can continue to contract," explains Per Bjerkeli.

Previously, we thought that the rotating wind originated from inside the centre of the rotating disc of gas and dust, but the new observations indicate otherwise.

"We can see that the rotating wind formed across the entire disc. Like a tornado, it lifts material up from the gas and dust cloud and at some point the wind releases its hold on the cloud, so that the material floats freely. This has the effect that the rotation speed of the cloud is slowed and thus the new star can hold together and in the process the material in the rotating gas and dust disc accumulates and forms planets," explains Jes Jørgensen, Associate Professor in Astrophysics and Planetary Science at the Niels Bohr Institute and the Centre for Star and Planet Formation at the University of Copenhagen. The next thing the researchers want to find out is whether the released material is completely blown away or whether it falls back onto the disc at some point and becomes part of the planet-forming system.

Explore further: Chaos in cosmos: Stars with three planet-forming discs of gas

More information: Resolved images of a protostellar outflow driven by an extended disk wind, Nature, nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nature20600

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11 comments

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Chris_Reeve
Dec 14, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
cantdrive85
2.1 / 5 (11) Dec 14, 2016
Powerful whirlwinds=interstellar Birkeland current
The animated video says it all.
RNP
5 / 5 (7) Dec 15, 2016
@cantdrive85
Powerful whirlwinds=interstellar Birkeland current
The animated video says it all.


Are you kidding? The animated video is an "artist's impression of the launching of a disk wind", as it says at the beginning. It is most certainly NOT evidence for any of your silly EU nonsense. The fact that you could think that it was demonstrates your biased approach to science.
cantdrive85
1.8 / 5 (10) Dec 15, 2016
Are you kidding? The animated video is an "artist's impression of the launching of a disk wind", as it says at the beginning.

There is an artists impression, just as there is a scientists impression. The observations reveal a vortex of powerful "winds", which they use to create the animated video. There is certainly a biased approach being demonstrated, one which plasma processes and EM forces are secondary to the feebly weak gravitational interactions. Their observation of the plasma vortex along this interstellar Birkeland current focusing down to a stellar disc is exactly what one would expect for a pinched Birkeland current.
jonesdave
4 / 5 (8) Dec 15, 2016

There is an artists impression, just as there is a scientists impression. The observations reveal a vortex of powerful "winds", which they use to create the animated video. There is certainly a biased approach being demonstrated, one which plasma processes and EM forces are secondary to the feebly weak gravitational interactions. Their observation of the plasma vortex along this interstellar Birkeland current focusing down to a stellar disc is exactly what one would expect for a pinched Birkeland current.


Utter crap. It isn't 'focussing down'. It is Doppler shifted as moving AWAY from the disk. And what they are observing are isotopologues of bloody carbon monoxide!
It could hardly be less like a sodding Birkeland current.
Read the paper, and at least try to understand it, before suggesting such idiotic woo.
I'm not posting the whole paper, as it's paywalled, but here is figure 1:
http://www.imageb...20752436
Not a 50 AU wide Birkeland current.
jonesdave
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 15, 2016
It's worth noting that our theories for protostellar formation preceded our ability to see these things up close. In fact, that has been the larger pattern for much of astrophysics. If we are to think critically about this subject, it should be the source for some error and surprises in the coming years.


And I'll guarantee you that nobody is going to be discovering electric suns or electric comets or electric cratering, or any of the other mythology driven woo that vomits forth from blunderbolts and hollowscience, and the like.
Benni
1 / 5 (5) Dec 15, 2016
Jonesy.......get off the name calling binge & learn to talk like a real adult.
jonesdave
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 15, 2016
Jonesy.......get off the name calling binge & learn to talk like a real adult.


Sod off. Crap is crap, and deserves to be treated as such.
jonesdave
4.3 / 5 (6) Dec 15, 2016
Jonesy.......get off the name calling binge & learn to talk like a real adult.


And where did I call anyone a name in what I posted? I called their ideas crap. Which they are.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (5) Dec 16, 2016
@nazi sympathizer conspiracist eu cult fanatic
Their observation of the plasma vortex along this interstellar Birkeland current focusing down to a stellar disc is exactly what one would expect for a pinched Birkeland current
1- just because you think something looks like your personal delusion or mass delusion doesn't mean it's real, nor does it mean you have evidence for it
IOW- your "everything looks like a pinched birky current" crap is not evidence of anything except your willingness to ignore evidence for your personal bias

2- you're the one who keeps talking evidence through experimentation and labs etc, so where is your replication in a reputable peer reviewed journal?

3- you made some similar claims about your electric vorticies (Mars and Earth), yet you can't actually create a vortex with your delusional eu claims
IOW- you've debunked your own eu cult argument

4 -the eu is demonstrated pseudoscience and debunked
cantdrive85
not rated yet Dec 27, 2016
It isn't 'focussing down'. It is Doppler shifted as moving AWAY from the disk. And what they are observing are isotopologues of bloody carbon monoxide!

Well, so sure of yourself as you pontificate from your pulpit of ignorance. It is known that Birkeland currents are coaxial, and then there is the Marklund convection to isolate the various types of matter. All to be expected regardless of your claims.

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