Herschel finds hole in space - key to star formation puzzle

Posted By: Staff
Subscribe to Oneindia News

Washington, May 12 (ANI): Scientists at ESA have found a hole in space through Herschel, an infrared space telescope.

The finding has provided some interesting insights into the theory of end of star formation process.

Stars are born in dense clouds of dust and gas that can now be studied in unprecedented detail with Herschel. Although jets and winds of gas have been seen coming from young stars in the past, it has always been a mystery exactly how a star uses these to blow away its surroundings and emerge from its birth cloud. Now, for the first time, Herschel may be seeing an unexpected step in this process.

A cloud of bright reflective gas known to astronomers as NGC 1999 sits next to a black patch of sky. For most of the 20th century, such black patches have been known to be dense clouds of dust and gas that block light from passing through.

However, the infrared rays of Herschel did not appear to pass through the cloud.

Further investigation revealed that the patch looks black not because it is a dense pocket of gas but because it is truly empty.

"No-one has ever seen a hole like this," says Tom Megeath, of the University of Toledo, USA. "It's as surprising as knowing you have worms tunnelling under your lawn, but finding one morning that they have created a huge, yawning pit."

The astronomers think that the hole must have been opened when the narrow jets of gas from some of the young stars in the region punctured the sheet of dust and gas that forms NGC 1999. The powerful radiation from a nearby mature star may also have helped to clear the hole.

Whatever the case may be, it could be an important glimpse into the way newborn stars disperse their birth clouds. (ANI)

Please Wait while comments are loading...