The Tarantula Nebula offers stunning views of star birth – 6/18/2022 – Science

Astronomers have been able to observe a nursery of stars in the tarantula nebula –a colossal cloud of gas and dust surrounding our galaxy– and gain a new understanding of the dynamics of star formation, while getting a stunning picture of the cosmos.

The researchers said on Wednesday that their observations have provided insight into the interplay between the irresistible force of gravity, which drives star formation, and the immense amounts of energy that very massive young stars inject into their surrounding environment, which can inhibit the birth of stars.

The Tarantula Nebula resides in a Milky Way satellite galaxy called Large Magellanic Cloud. It is a network of stars, gas and dust about 600 light-years in diameter. A light year is the distance traveled by light in one year, or 9.5 trillion kilometres.

Located about 170,000 light-years from Earth, the Tarantula Nebula is officially named 30 Doradus, in reference to a catalog number of objects in the direction of the constellation Dorado.

Her name is tarantula nebula for some of its architecture looks like glowing filaments of gas, dust, and stars that look like spider legs. The nebula’s gaseous composition is similar to that of the universe at an earlier stage in its history, being mostly hydrogen and helium.

The European Southern Observatory has released an image of the Tarantula Nebula showing thin clouds of gas that may be remnants of larger clouds that have been torn apart by energy released by young massive stars .

we see stars form where there’s a lot of gas and dust available, and there’s certainly a lot of that in the Tarantula Nebula,” said astrophysicist Guido de Marchi from the European Center for Space Research and Technology. European Space Agency in the Netherlands, who co-authored the research published in Astrophysical Journal and presented at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

The results were aided by observations made with the Alma (Atacama Large Millimeter Array) telescope, located in Chile.

“Stars form when clouds of gas collapse under their own gravity and the gas becomes denser and denser. These clouds contract and heat up until the core is hot enough to start the Stellar Engine, a massive nuclear reactor. said De Marchi.

“But we always thought that when very massive stars – more than a hundred times the mass of Floor– begin to form, they release so much energy that they prevent more gas from falling, cutting off the fuel source for more stars to form. The beautiful observations of the Tarantula Nebula taken with Alma now show that where the gas is dense enough, it continues to fall, and new stars can continue to form. It’s interesting and it’s new information.”

De Marchi was referring to a phenomenon called feedback, in which massive young stars radiate large amounts of energy into their local environment in the form of high-speed photons and particles. The primordial composition of the nebula has fueled the formation of particularly large stars, some of them 200 times more massive. superior to our Sun.

“The Tarantula Nebula is the most extreme feedback environment we can observe in detail, as it harbors the closest example of a cluster of massive young stars,” said astrophysicist Tony Wong from the University of Illinois and lead author of the study.

“One of the great puzzles of astronomy is why we can still observe star formation today. Why didn’t all available gas collapse in a large star formation explosion? took place and ended a long time ago? Observations with Alma can shed light on what is happening deep within the stars and help us understand how gravity and feedback compete for influence to control star formation,” he added.

The beauty of the nebula has not gone unnoticed by scientists.

“Personally, I love the Tarantula Nebula for both scientific and aesthetic reasons,” De Marchi said. “It’s a unique panorama in the sky. I’ve often wondered what the night would look like if we were on a planet orbiting one of its stars, with brightly colored clouds and gaseous streaks in the sky.”

Translation by Clara Allain

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