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Spitzer Telescope Witnesses Star Being Born

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the get-off-my-cosmic-lawn dept.

Space 34

Arvisp tips news of a discovery by astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Submillimeter Array in Hawaii of the youngest known star in a nearby star-forming region. From the Yale press release: "Astronomers think L1448-IRS2E is in between the prestellar phase, when a particularly dense region of a molecular cloud first begins to clump together, and the protostar phase, when gravity has pulled enough material together to form a dense, hot core out of the surrounding envelope. ... Most protostars are between one to 10 times as luminous as the Sun, with large dust envelopes that glow at infrared wavelengths. Because L1448-IRS2E is less than one tenth as luminous as the Sun, the team believes the object is too dim to be considered a true protostar. Yet they also discovered that the object is ejecting streams of high-velocity gas from its center, confirming that some sort of preliminary mass has already formed and the object has developed beyond the prestellar phase. This kind of outflow is seen in protostars (as a result of the magnetic field surrounding the forming star), but has not been seen at such an early stage until now."

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34 comments

Uhoh... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32625316)

Kiddie Porn

Eiiot Spitzer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32625406)

Always reminds me of NY's ex-Governor.

Short but not short enough (5, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#32625418)

Unfortunately, when they say that the protostar phase is short they mean on astronomical timescales. The protostar phase lasts on the order of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. So it is unlikely that we are going to be able to have the opportunity to watch a protostar become a star.

Re:Short but not short enough (3, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#32625624)

Yes, but seeing these phases from various stars will eventually give them the picture they need. They don't need to see the entire life cycle of a single star. As long as they can view the highlights, and piece them together in the proper order, it's almost as good as watching it reel to reel so to speak considering the long time span for the event and the fact that our span is so relatively short.

Re: Short but not short enough (2, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#32625848)

Yes, but seeing these phases from various stars will eventually give them the picture they need. They don't need to see the entire life cycle of a single star. As long as they can view the highlights, and piece them together in the proper order, it's almost as good as watching it reel to reel so to speak considering the long time span for the event and the fact that our span is so relatively short.

It sounds like this one may cause them to rethink the standing model of starbirth already. But maybe it's just an odd one.

Re: Short but not short enough (1)

IRWolfie- (1148617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32632046)

From the Article it seems this discovery is further evidence towards the current standing model, the standing model being the collapse of molecular clouds into a covered protostellar object. The lack of previous observations does not necessarily mean that ejection of mass was not predicted for a protostellar object of this age but that it is so short lived as to be difficult to observe.

Re:Short but not short enough (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32626050)

What's even nicer about this is that, once we know where they are, we can observe them with even better and better instruments for the next tens or hundreds of thousands of years.

In archaeology, they will leave parts of sites unexcavated, so that future people with better technology will be able to excavate it and learn more about the people. This has already paid off with stuff like ground-penetrating radar and pollen analysis. But the ultimate problem there is that the site is going to be used up, sooner or later. Not so with the stars :D

Re:Short but not short enough (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#32626190)

If you fly there (800ly), accelerating constantly, you should see a good fast-forward movie of it (special relativity).

Re:Short but not short enough (1)

The Fell (1804782) | more than 3 years ago | (#32630752)

Actually, due to light not reaching us instantly, but actually quite slowly to me, that protostar has probably already finished forming, or is close/halfway done.

Re:Short but not short enough (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32631266)

"Actually"? The only difference in those two variants of description is preferred reference frame, they are equally valid. There's no place for "actually"...

Re:Short but not short enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32632858)

Sure we can. Just fly in that direction and you can speed up the process immensely.

Lying heading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32625720)

They did not witness a star being born.

"Plasma!" (1)

Slur (61510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32626036)

Earthworm Jim has a point. Plasma has some amazing properties that marry electricity, magnetism, and quantum effects. We can study some of these things in the lab, but the real fun doesn't begin until you have something as big as this proto-star. It will be interesting to see what can be learned!

In other news (1)

Rostasan (627578) | more than 3 years ago | (#32626158)

Geologists have observed the birth of a mountain.

The title is a little misleading, but this observation is still another significant piece of the puzzle.

Perseus is going to be pissed (3, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#32626164)

TFA shows the Orion [nebula].

Re:Perseus is going to be pissed (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 3 years ago | (#32627068)

I noticed that too, but then read the caption and confirmed my suspicion:

Astronomers caught a glimpse of a future star just as it is being born out of the surrounding gas and dust, in a star-forming region similar to the one pictured above

There are some pics of the actual L1448 here [harvard.edu]

Somehow, someone always manages to spin it (4, Funny)

arielCo (995647) | more than 3 years ago | (#32626270)

Quoth The Bible Vanquishes Science [blogspot.com] (4th result when Googling "L1448-IRSE"):

The astronomers reasoned that it has not yet ignited its nuclear fires because it has not gravitationally attracted enough gas to arrive at the protostar phase. Despite their claim that the object does not have an active core, astronomers admit that it is ejecting streams of high velocity gas.

Why do scientists cling to their mathematical theories when the visible evidence is contradictory? The scientific version of cosmic history denies what is visible - the visible history of how galaxies and stars formed.

[snip]

Scientists must accept by faith that atoms are immutable - because they used this idea to contrive their definitions, measuring units and mathematical laws. For example, scientists use the idea that atomic clocks dither with perpetual motion to define most of their measuring units. Yet no ancient galaxy shines with the frequencies of modern atoms. To support their creed, scientists invent invisible matter, invisible black holes, invisible space-time, vacuums changing the frequency of light etc. Their universe, by their own admission, is 99% invisible. No pagan myth maker could weave such incredible myths - backed by unnatural, mathematical things - never seen in any lab or photographed in any part of the spectrum.

[snip more]

Why is L1448-IRS2E glowing in microwave and infrared, like ancient galaxies? Why is it ejecting high speed jets like ancient quasars? The Bible states that God calls the stars to continually come out, that He spreads out the heavens like a curtain. He even says He formed the Sun, Moon and stars and placed them in the raqiya, the spreading place. Everywhere in the universe we see a biblical cosmic history - exactly as described in the Bible. The Perseus giant molecular cloud is part of a long steam of similar clouds, a star stream, ejected from the core of our galaxy. In billions of galaxies we see that orbits accelerate outward as matter keeps on taking up more volume and the atomic clocks also accelerate. In a universe where matter keeps changing, you cannot invent an empirical system that can validly decode earth history. But you can see Biblical cosmic history with optics. New telescopes continue to show a biblical cosmic history. How great will be the fall of Western science before God’s powerful Word.

Re:Somehow, someone always manages to spin it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32627912)

Where did you dig up that odd fossil?

Re:Somehow, someone always manages to spin it (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 3 years ago | (#32628354)

As I said above, it's the 4th result when Googling "L1448-IRSE" (alas). I guess you're calling the author a fossil, since he posted only yesterday.

Re:Somehow, someone always manages to spin it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32632854)

Who is Victor McAllister? I am not an academic. I have no degrees. What gives me the right to claim that the scientific system is based on a false first principle? Do I have a right to interpret the Bible with grammar, in its historical context, or must I tailor it to fit our science? Do I have the right to accept the visible history of the universe? My claim is that if I interpret the Bible historically and grammatically, there is a simple answer to the conflict between science and the biblical text. The answer involves the historical first principle of science. God will get great glory and honor when He defeats the pride of man and their mighty fortress of scientific reasoning. He expects us to do battle with the most powerful weapon ever forged, God's unchanging Word. "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God" II Corinthians 10:5.

You may email me: victormc@godsriddle.com

I doubt he realizes the irony of using a computer to post that. Anyone care to let him know?

Re:Somehow, someone always manages to spin it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32640242)

I wonder which version of the Old Testament that guy was using?

My guess is the unofficial ID version for science haters.

Spitzer Telescope? (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#32626662)

If this is the Eliot Spitzer telescope, its gonna cost you $1000 per peek.

Oops... (1, Funny)

no1home (1271260) | more than 3 years ago | (#32626702)

This kind of outflow is seen in protostars...

Anybody else read this as This kind of outflow is seen in pornstars...?

Re:Oops... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32631012)

I read title as "Striptizer Telescope Witnesses Star Being Porn"

I love it when... (2, Interesting)

nilbog (732352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32627188)

I love it when there are articles about pictures that don't include the pictures they are talking about. I'd rather read about an incredible picture than see it.

Stars aren't "born". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32630920)

They form. Enough with the emotive claptrap.

Birth? Bah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32693220)

I'd rather see pictures of the conception.

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