[NTD, Beijing, June 28, 2022]Just inside the Milky Way, astronomers have discovered a star only 26,000 light-years away from Earth. The dust disk around it is spiral-shaped, making the star look like A miniature galaxy.
The peculiar star was discovered by an international collaborative research team using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile to observe the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ), a region close to the center of the Milky Way.
This region has somewhat different characteristics than other regions in the Milky Way. For example, the number of novae in this region is less than one-tenth of that in other regions; the temperature distribution in this region is also very different, with some places almost reaching absolute zero, while others are as high as several hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Absolute zero is the lowest temperature that physics thinks matter can reach, at which all particles inside are at rest.
And stars are so hot that scientists think they were generally born from disks of primordial stellar dust. The CMZ region has far fewer stars than other similarly sized regions in the Milky Way. The researchers think this may be one of the reasons why strange stars are found in this region: strange stars are less likely to be influenced by other stars.
It is not uncommon to have primordial dust disks around stars, after all, stars are usually formed from such dust disks. The universe is filled with stars and disks of dust in various stages of birth, ranging from swirling dust clouds where new stars will be born, to lifeless dust clouds containing the remnants of other dead stars.
But finding a star so close to Earth in its birth-stage is rare. The star is about 32 times the mass of the Sun, and the diameter of the primordial dust disk around it is 4,000 times the distance between the Sun and Earth.
Even rarer, the dust disk around the star is spiral-shaped and looks like a miniature version of the Milky Way. The researchers found an object about three times the mass of the sun nearby, and speculated that the object had previously leaped near the star’s dusty disk, turning it into a spiral. Scientists estimate that the event occurred thousands of years ago, and that the dust disk has remained in a spiral shape ever since.
Another rarity of this star is that it is the first massive star that scientists have seen born from the mechanism of a spinning dust disk. Previously, scientists have seen stars born from spinning disks of dust that are low-mass, generally about the same mass as the sun. This has led scientists to speculate that stars with more than eight times the mass of the Sun may have been born by different mechanisms.
The discovery of this star disproves this speculation. Now scientists have evidence that stars up to 30 times the mass of the Sun can be born from spinning disks of dust.
The study was published May 30 in the journal Nature Astronomy.
(Transfer from The Epoch Times/Editor-in-charge: Ye Ping)
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