Irish scientists discover new insights into star formation

Scientists one step closer to filling in the gap between low-mass and high-mass star formation



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12 August 2019 | 0

An international team of astrophysicists, led by Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) researchers, have for the first time measured the total mass and energy from a jet driven by a massive protostar.

While a protostar looks like a star, it lacks sufficient heat at its core for hydrogen fusion to take place. It gathers mass from its parent molecular cloud.

Protostellar jets play a key role in star formation. The measurements and values imply that a common mechanism is in place in the formation of jets in low-mass and high-mass protostars.




Rubén Fedriani, a PhD student at both the DIAS and University College Dublin, led the research. Commenting on the international team’s findings, Fedriani said: “We are now one step closer to filling in the gap between low-mass and high-mass star formation, which is very significant.”

“We are on the cutting edge of science in this area and having access to the best telescopes in the world via Ireland’s membership with the European Southern Observatory and collaborating internationally has helped greatly in getting us there.”

Co-author of the stufy Alessio Caratti o Garatti added: “This research is another important piece of the puzzle. After many years of debate, we are finally understanding how massive stars form, namely accreting matter from discs, while at the same time ejecting powerful and highly collimated jets.”

The researchers used data from the Hubble Space Telescope, Karl Jansky Very Large Array and the Very Large Telescope.

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