Washington, Nov 26 (ANI): Astronomers have discovered the first evidence of a magnetic field in a jet of material ejected from a young star.
The find could eventually help scientists understand the nature of all types of cosmic jets and of the role of magnetic fields in star formation.
Throughout the Universe, jets of subatomic particles are ejected by three phenomena: supermassive black holes, smaller black holes or neutron stars and young stars.
"Our discovery gives a strong hint that all three types of jets originate through a common process," said Carlos Carrasco-Gonzalez, of the Astrophysical Institute of Andalucia Spanish National Research Council (IAA-CSIC) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
This star, possibly as massive as 10 Suns, is ejecting a jet 17 light-years long.
The scientists found that radio waves from the jet have a characteristic indicating they arose when fast-moving electrons interacted with magnetic fields.
This characteristic, called polarization, gives a preferential alignment to the electric and magnetic fields of the radio waves.
The jets from young stars, unlike the other types, emit radiation that provides information on the temperatures, speeds, and densities within the jets. This information, combined with the data on magnetic fields, can improve scientists' understanding of how such jets work.
"In the future, combining several types of observations could give us an overall picture of how magnetic fields affect the young star and all its surroundings. This would be a big advance in understanding the process of star formation," Rodriguez said. (ANI)