Discovering the mystery of star formation in the hearts of molecular clouds  Urania

An international team of astronomers has discovered a mysterious star formation at the far edge of the M83 galaxy.

Several tools were used in the research, including: Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA), Karl J. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) I Green Bank Telescope (GBT) Also from NRAO Subaru telescope I Galaxy Evolution Explorer (Galax).

Normally, new stars are formed by the contraction of diffuse atomic gas into clusters of molecular gas known as clusters of molecular gas Molecular clouds. The dense cores of these clouds trigger the process of star formation. This process takes place mainly in the internal parts Galaxiesbut becomes increasingly rare towards its edges.

Monica Rubio, an astronomer at the University of Chile and a member of the research team, thinks so It is exciting to discover this young molecular cloud far beyond the optical edge M83 And exposed to high ultraviolet rays. He further explains this ALMA's unprecedented sensitivity and analytical power made this discovery possible. It appears that these molecular clouds are not resolved at 6 pixels. They are even smaller! it's great.

There are a surprising number of very young stars on the far fringes of many galaxies, but scientists have had difficulty understanding how and why these stars formed because they have been unable to pinpoint where they formed. The research revealed the presence of 23 molecular clouds that represent a different way of forming stars. Large masses of these clouds were not visible as “normal” molecular clouds, but only dense cloud nuclei were observed, from which stars were formed, i.e. the “hearts” of the clouds. This discovery provides an important clue to understanding the physical processes that typically lead to star formation.

Star formation on the outskirts of galaxies has been a long-standing mystery since their discovery by the GALEX satellite 18 years ago – said astronomer Gene Koda of Stony Brook University, who led this research. Previous attempts to locate molecular clouds in this environment have proven unsuccessful. David Thilker of Johns Hopkins University, who originally detected star formation activity on the outskirts of M83 and other galaxies, commented: Pleasingly, the search for dense clouds associated with the outer disk has finally yielded results, revealing a completely different observational signature for molecular clouds.

The discovery of these molecular clouds revealed a connection to a huge reservoir of diffuse atomic gas, representing another breakthrough in this research. Normally, atomic gas condenses into dense molecular clouds, where denser nuclei form, and eventually stars form. This process occurs even on the outskirts of galaxies, but the transformation of this atomic gas into molecular clouds was not clear for reasons that have not yet been fully explained.

Amanda Lee, a graduate student on the KODA research team, processed the GBT and VLA data, which led to the discovery of an atomic gas reservoir on the outskirts of the galaxy. We still do not understand why this atomic gas does not efficiently transform into dense molecular clouds and form stars. As is often the case in astronomy, the answer to one mystery may lead to another. This is why research in astronomy is so exciting – Lee added.

Thilker added: I am excited to see this new capability exploited more widely in the outer disk environment to gain deeper insight into the key physical processes of reversing galaxy growth that are still occurring in the current cosmic epoch.

When I started, I didn't know what my job would play. It was very interesting to see how they contributed to the bigger picture of star formation – He said to me.

Agnieszka Novak

more information:

Source: Alma

Pictured: Studies of the far edge of the M83 galaxy reveal unusual star formation under extreme conditions. This area, shaded in yellow, appears in data from several different instruments. From left to right: optical image from CTIO, UV image from GALEX, 21 cm HI image from VLA and GBT, and CO(3-2) image from ALMA. This last image shows the “hearts” of molecular clouds from which stars form, circled in white. Source: J. Koda et al

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