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Space Science

Spitzer Telescope Witnesses Star Being Born 34

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-off-my-cosmic-lawn dept.
Arvisp tips news of a discovery by astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Submillimeter Array in Hawaii of the youngest known star in a nearby star-forming region. From the Yale press release: "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. ... Most protostars are between one to 10 times as luminous as the Sun, with large dust envelopes that glow at infrared wavelengths. 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."
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Spitzer Telescope Witnesses Star Being Born

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  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @12:13PM (#32625624)

    Yes, but seeing these phases from various stars will eventually give them the picture they need. They don't need to see the entire life cycle of a single star. As long as they can view the highlights, and piece them together in the proper order, it's almost as good as watching it reel to reel so to speak considering the long time span for the event and the fact that our span is so relatively short.

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