Washington: Astronomers has recently observed a growth spurt from newborn protostar, it has been revealed.
Using data from orbiting observatories, including NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground-based facilities, an international team of astronomers has discovered an outburst from a star thought to be in the earliest phase of its development.
The eruption revealed a sudden accumulation of gas and dust by an exceptionally young protostar known as HOPS 383.
Stars form within collapsing fragments of cold gas clouds. As the cloud contracts under its own gravity, its central region becomes denser and hotter. By the end of this process, the collapsing fragment has transformed into a hot central protostar surrounded by a dusty disk roughly equal in mass, embedded in a dense envelope of gas and dust. Astronomers called this a "Class 0" protostar.
The eruption of HOPS 383 was first recognized in 2014 by astronomer Emily Safron shortly after her graduation from the University of Toledo. Under the supervision of Megeath and Fischer, she had just completed her senior thesis comparing the decade-old Spitzer Orion survey with 2010 observations from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite.
Using software to analyze the data,Safron had already run through it several times without finding anything new. But with her thesis completed and graduation behind her, she decided to take the extra time to compare images of the "funny objects" by eye.
The team continues to monitor HOPS 383 and has proposed new observations using NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), the world's largest flying telescope.
The study is published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.