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How 'Death Stars' Wipe Out Potential Planets

Science & Tech  (tags: discovery, space, astronomy, space, Death Stars, science, research, nasa )

- 1656 days ago -
Hundreds of young stars and protostars reside in the Orion Nebula, swathed by dust and gas. For many of these stars, the material surrounding them will go on to form planets.


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Michael O (176)
Tuesday March 11, 2014, 7:47 pm
By Janet Fang

But others will have all of their planet-forming dust and gas blasted away by “Death Stars” taking the form of massive O-type stars, a new study shows.

Sun-like stars are often born in crowded stellar nurseries like the Orion Nebula. Over millions of years, specks of dust and pockets of gas combine into larger, denser bodies. Many will grow into full-fledged star systems, complete with orbiting planets. But not all stars have planets, and this research shows one reason why that is true.

To study the sometimes-deadly relationship between protostars and their much bigger stellar neighbors, a team of astronomers used Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to look at dozens of embryonic stars with planet-forming potential. They found evidence, for the first time, that protoplanetary disks (also called proplyds) simply vanished under the intense glow of a neighboring massive star, Rita Mann of the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada says in a press release.

In just a few million years, the fierce ultraviolet radiation emitted by highly luminous O-type stars can blow away the planet-forming potential any proplyds that are within a 0.1 light-year radius -- the distance of the massive star’s extreme-UV envelope. Hundreds of times more luminous than our Sun, these O-type stars deplete nearby protoplanetary disks by heating up the gas, breaking it up, and sweeping it away, NRC’s James Di Francesco explains. In the end, the newborn star might be left with a fraction of the material necessary to create even a single Jupiter-sized planet.

"O-type stars, which are really monsters compared to our Sun, emit tremendous amounts of ultraviolet radiation and this can play havoc during the development of young planetary systems," Mann says. But it’s all part of the circle of galactic life. When massive yet short-lived stars explode as supernovas, they seed the surrounding area with dust and heavy elements that will go on to form the next generation of stars.

Angela J (61)
Wednesday March 12, 2014, 9:37 pm
Thank you.

Nimue Michelle P (339)
Wednesday March 12, 2014, 9:46 pm
Interesting. Thanks :)

Jerry B (128)
Wednesday March 12, 2014, 9:57 pm
Noted very interesting, thanks for the article..Michael.

Robert O (12)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 12:17 am
That is very interesting. Thank you Michael.

Glenn Byrnes (197)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 12:32 am

Past Member (0)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 5:29 am
Noted, ta.

Past Member (0)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 5:31 am
Every start comes from destruction

. (0)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 5:51 am
Noted; poste and as I said before the universe is a beautiful but deadly place and we are the microcosm reflecting the macrocosm and its behavior.

Roger G (148)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 2:39 pm
noted, thanks

Past Member (0)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 6:49 pm
Very cool, shared this with my boyfriend. Thanks Michael :-)

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Thursday March 13, 2014, 8:55 pm
Fascinating, science is very interesting indeed.

Colin Hope (243)
Saturday March 15, 2014, 11:59 am
Science never ceases to amaze me................. someday Man will finally discover that HE is actually God!!
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