NASA/USRA: Massive Stars Are Factories for Ingredients to Life

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NASA/USRA: Massive Stars Are Factories for Ingredients to Life

Post by bystander » Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:35 pm

Massive Stars Are Factories for Ingredients to Life
NASA | Universities Space Research Association | SOFIA | 2020 Oct 09
NASA’s telescope on an airplane, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, has provided a new glimpse of the chemistry in the inner region surrounding massive young stars where future planets could begin to form. It found massive quantities of water and organic molecules in these swirling, disk-shaped clouds, offering new insights into how some of the key ingredients of life get incorporated into planets during the earliest stages of formation.

A similar process likely happened during the formation of the Sun and the inner rocky planets of our solar system, including Earth. ...

SOFIA’s instruments can detect small details in the chemical fingerprints from the cores of massive young stars, similar to how high-resolution images reveal tiny features. ...

Stars form when celestial clouds collapse, feeding a rotating disc of gas and dust into a central core. SOFIA observed that this process is happening around two massive stars, AFGL 2591 and AFGL 2136, each about 3,000 light years away in the constellation Cygnus and the Juggler Nebula respectively. The observatory found the inner regions of these discs are heated from the inside out, transforming the gas surrounding the core into an entirely different composition. Within the same areas of the disc where planets would form there were a chemical soup of organic molecules, including water, ammonia, methane, and acetylene — which is a building block of larger and more complex organic molecules. ...

High Resolution Infrared Spectroscopy of Hot Molecular Gas in AFGL 2591 and AFGL 2136:
Accretion in the Inner Regions of Disks Around Massive Young Stellar Objects
~ Andrew G. Barr et al
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