Images of streamers of gas and dust reveal power of explosive interactions
J. Bally; B. Saxton (NRAO, AUI, NSF), ALMA (ESO, NAOJ, NRAO); Gemini Observatory/AURA
A stellar game of chicken between two young stars about 500 years ago has produced some fantastic celestial fireworks, new images released on April 7 by the European Southern Observatory reveal.
Whether or not the stellar duo collided is unclear. But their close encounter sent hundreds of streamers of gas, dust and other young stars shooting into space like an exploding firecracker. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile, John Bally of the University of Colorado Boulder and colleagues made the first measurements of the velocities of carbon monoxide gas in the streamers. From the data, they identified the spot where the stars probably interacted and determined that the encounter ripped apart the stellar nursery in which the stars were born. Such a cataclysmic event flung nursery debris into space at speeds faster than 540,000 kilometers an hour.
The dueling stars were born in a stellar nursery