As young stars form in dense regions of a massive cloud of gas, such as OMC-1, they are able to drift about randomly. However, if the newborn stars slow down, they begin to fall toward a common center of gravity — and if they get too close before dispersing into the galaxy, they experience violent collisions, such as that observed by the ALMA telescopes. This type of stellar explosion is generally short-lived, and the remnants are visible for only centuries, scientists said in the statement.
"Though fleeting, protostellar explosions may be relatively common," Bally said in the statement. "By destroying their parent cloud, as we see in OMC-1, such explosions may also help to regulate the pace of star formation in these giant molecular clouds."
Previous observations made using the Submillimeter Array in Hawaii and the Gemini South telescope in Chile revealed the explosive nature of this stellar burst and the structure of the remnant streams of gas, which extend nearly a light-year from end to end, scientists said in the statement.
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The new study, however, provides insight into the underlying force of the blast, as well as the "distribution and high-velocity motion of the carbon monoxide (CO) gas inside the streamers," scientists said. Their findings, published March 3 in The Astrophysical Journal, shed new light on how stellar collisions like this may affect star formation in other areas of the galaxy, the researchers said.
"People most often associate stellar explosions with ancient stars, like a nova eruption on the surface of a decaying star or the even more spectacular supernova death of an extremely massive star," Bally said in the statement from the NRAO. "ALMA has given us new insights into explosions on the other end of the stellar life cycle, star birth."
Original article on Space.com.
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