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Stellar evolution in real time

It's not even fusing hydrogen yet, but look at junior go!
From Sky and Telescope

Watching Starbirth in Real Time
By: Monica Young
April 7, 2015

A team of astronomers took the long view (18 years long, in fact) and caught a star in the act of forming.

Astronomers must often piece together patchwork quilts of observations to learn the history of the universe. Stars and galaxies usually evolve over time scales much longer than human lives, so rather than watch individual stars or galaxies develop, observers sew together images of many objects at different stages to tell their life story.

But every now and then, a star tells its own story.

In a star-forming region dubbed W75N(B), Carlos Carrasco-González (National Autonomous University of Mexico) and his colleagues watched what will one day be a massive and luminous B star evolve over a period of 18 years.

As the protostar grew, drawing in gas from its surroundings, it threw off a small fraction of those particles in a protostellar wind. Back in 1996, observations showed this wind streaming outward in all directions. But 18 years later, the team reported in the April 3rd Science, the wind had transformed, flowing faster and farther along the star’s poles. Seen in real-time, the wind’s changing shape reveals how the forming star responds to its surroundings.




( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 11th, 2015 12:12 am (UTC)
Thanks, Kay. A *very* neat thing to share, and just loaded with perspective! And blessedly angst-free. <3 (:

Edited at 2015-04-11 12:14 am (UTC)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )