Photo: Bill Saxton at NRAO
Researchers have found the youngest baby star ever, and caught it in the act of beginning to create it’s solar system.
This is the youngest star ever found, it could be only 300,000 years old or even younger, the researchers reported today, Dec. 5, in the journal Nature. It’s classified as a “class 0” protostar. It is 140 parsecs, or 456 light-years, away from Earth.
Photo: John Tobin, Bill Saxton
Stars form from gas clouds, they suck up material from the gas cloud and start spinning, dragging in a disk of gassy and dusty material around it.The new baby star, which is just starting to form, is called L1527, and has only sucked up 20 per cent of the mass in its gas cloud. The researchers were able to see it because of the light created by this process. The movement of gas and dust create radiation, which hits the elements in the gas and dust and makes them emit light, similar to how black holes make light.
Eventually, the star will get big enough to start theromonuclear fusion, which will cause the sudden release of energy and blow away much of the gas around the newly-ignited star.
After that, the dust and gas circling the star will start to form planets, comets, and other solar system mainstays.
“The detection of true protostars has been referred to as ‘the holy grail of infrared astronomy,'” David Clarke, of Sain Mary’s University in Halifax, wrote in a Nature News and Views article about the find. “Class 0 protostars are difficult to detect directly because of their very short duration, their weak luminosity and the fact that they are — by definition — enshrouded in gas and dust many times their own mass.”
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