ALMA: Protostar Blazes Bright, Reshaping Its Stellar Nursery

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ALMA: Protostar Blazes Bright, Reshaping Its Stellar Nursery

Postby bystander » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:46 pm

Protostar Blazes Bright, Reshaping Its Stellar Nursery
ALMA | NRAO | ESO | NAOJ | CfA | 2017 Mar 15

A massive protostar, deeply nestled in its dust-filled stellar nursery, recently roared to life, shining nearly 100 times brighter than before. This outburst, apparently triggered by an avalanche of star-forming gas crashing onto the surface of the star, supports the theory that young stars can undergo intense growth spurts that reshape their surroundings.

Astronomers made this discovery by comparing new observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile with earlier observations from the Submillimeter Array (SMA) in Hawaii. ...

In 2008, before the era of ALMA, Hunter and his colleagues used the SMA to observe a small but active portion of the Cat's Paw Nebula (also known as NGC 6334), a star-forming complex located about 5,500 light-years from Earth in the direction of the southern constellation Scorpius. This nebula is similar in many respects to its more northern cousin, the Orion Nebula, which is also brimming with young stars, star clusters, and dense cores of gas that are on the verge of becoming stars. The Cat's Paw Nebula, however, is forming stars at a faster rate.

The initial SMA observations of this portion of the nebula, dubbed NGC 6334I, revealed what appeared to be a typical protocluster: a dense cloud of dust and gas harboring several still-growing stars. ...

The new ALMA observations of this region, taken in 2015 and 2016, reveal that dramatic changes occurred toward a portion of the protocluster called NGC 6334I-MM1 after the original SMA observations. This region is now about four times brighter at millimeter wavelengths, meaning that the central protostar is nearly 100 times more luminous than before. ...

An Extraordinary Outburst in the Massive Protostellar System
NGC 6334I-MM1: Quadrupling of the Millimeter Continuum
- T. R. Hunter et al
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Re: ALMA: Protostar Blazes Bright, Reshaping Its Stellar Nursery

Postby Ann » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:40 pm

That's really interesting. Based on the discussion of a possible intermediate mass black hole in the Orion Nebula, I can't help wondering if the antics of the massive protostar in The Cat's Paw Nebula is really a warning sign that it is about to collapse into a black hole.

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Re: ALMA: Protostar Blazes Bright, Reshaping Its Stellar Nursery

Postby BDanielMayfield » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:14 pm

Ann wrote:That's really interesting. Based on the discussion of a possible intermediate mass black hole in the Orion Nebula, I can't help wondering if the antics of the massive protostar in The Cat's Paw Nebula is really a warning sign that it is about to collapse into a black hole.

Ann


I expect a "probably not" comment may be coming. But, do I also detect a thawing in your dislike for black holes, perhaps? They have their place, I think.

Bruce
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Re: ALMA: Protostar Blazes Bright, Reshaping Its Stellar Nursery

Postby neufer » Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:59 pm

bystander wrote:Protostar Blazes Bright, Reshaping Its Stellar Nursery
ALMA | NRAO | ESO | NAOJ | 2017 Mar 15


... a small but active portion of the Cat's Paw Nebula (also known as NGC 6334), a star-forming complex located about 5,500 light-years from Earth in the direction of the southern constellation Scorpius.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpion wrote:
<<Scorpions are predatory arachnids of the order Scorpiones. They have eight legs and are easily recognized by the pair of grasping pedipalps and the narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger. They have adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions and can now be found on all continents except Antarctica. Scorpions number about 1750 described species, with 13 extant families recognised to date. The oldest known scorpions lived around 430 million years ago in the Silurian period. Though once believed to have lived on the bottom of shallow tropical seas, early scorpions are now believed to have been terrestrial and to have washed into marine settings together with plant matter. These first scorpions were believed to have had gills instead of the present forms' book lungs though this has subsequently been refuted. The oldest Gondwanan scorpiones (Gondwanascorpio) comprise the earliest known terrestrial animals from Gondwana.>>
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: ALMA: Protostar Blazes Bright, Reshaping Its Stellar Nursery

Postby Ann » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:36 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Ann wrote:That's really interesting. Based on the discussion of a possible intermediate mass black hole in the Orion Nebula, I can't help wondering if the antics of the massive protostar in The Cat's Paw Nebula is really a warning sign that it is about to collapse into a black hole.

Ann


I expect a "probably not" comment may be coming. But, do I also detect a thawing in your dislike for black holes, perhaps? They have their place, I think.

Bruce


I don't dislike black holes, which is not to say that I exactly like them, either. :wink:

But I am slightly weirded out by the claim that such an incredibly rare beast as an intermediate mass black hole would form, just like that, in a run-of-a-mill region of high-mass star formation. It's a bit like finding an incredibly large pearl in a quite small shell.

However, if there really is such a monster in the Orion Nebula, why shouldn't we see one in the considerably more massive and fertile Cat's Paw Nebula? Perhaps one has already formed there, or maybe it will form there in the very near future? Perhaps in the brightly blazing part of the Cat's Paw that is described in this thread?

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Re: ALMA: Protostar Blazes Bright, Reshaping Its Stellar Nursery

Postby BDanielMayfield » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:53 pm

Just because things remain unseen (for a while) doesn't mean they aren't there. Yeah, there could be one or more black things hiding in there.

Bruce
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