A mega-star is born - and here`s how

Using powerful telescopes, astronomers have confirmed a key theory about massive stars.

Updated: Jul 15, 2010, 09:48 AM IST

Paris: Using powerful telescopes peering into deep space, astronomers have confirmed a key theory about the formative of massive stars, the journal Nature reported.

Images obtained by NASA`s orbital Spitzer Space Telescope and from a ground-based European telescope showed a dusty disc closely encircling a newly-born but huge star.

It is the first direct evidence that very large stars -- those with masses at least 10 times that of the Sun -- are born in the same way as smaller brethren, from a disk-shaped cloud of dust and gas.

A competing theory was that massive stars were formed from smaller stars that merged.

"This is the first time we could image the inner regions of the disc around a massive young star," said Stefan Kraus of the European Southern Observatory.

"Our observations show that formation works the same for all stars, regardless of mass."

The astronomers looked at a large star known as IRAS 13481-6124, about 20 times the mass of the Sun, located about 10,000 light years in the constellation of Centaurus.

Bureau Report