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“Complete surprise”: Stars are not necessarily born in the way we thought. Also, galaxies can form much faster than thought

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From Cardiff University at Eurekalert:

The birth of stars from dense clouds of gas and dust may be happening in a completely unexpected way in our own galaxy and beyond.

This is according to an international team of researchers, including scientists from Cardiff University, who have found that long-held assumptions about the relationship between the mass of star-forming clouds of dust and gas and the eventual mass of the star itself may not be as straightforward as we think.

The underlying reasons as to why a star eventually grows to a specific mass has puzzled scientists for some time.

It has been assumed that a star’s mass mostly depends on the original structure – known as a star-forming core – from which stars are born.

To their surprise, the distribution of star-forming cores was completely different to what had previously been observed in nearby regions of the Milky Way.

In particular they observed an abundance of extremely big stars with huge masses, but less smaller stars that are more common within our galaxy.

Co-author of the study Dr Kenneth Marsh, from Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “These findings were a complete surprise and call into question the intricate relationship between the masses of star-forming cores and the masses of the stars themselves, which has long been assumed.” More.

Artist’s impression of early galaxies interacting and merging/M. Kornmesser, ESO

Also: From Doris Elin Salazar at Space.com,

Astronomers report witnessing the formation of a galaxy cluster — the largest type of gravity-bound structure in the universe. And it’s not what they expected.

To study the formation stage the protocluster was exhibiting, researchers ran observational data from the ALMA telescope through computer simulations. The two teams found that what they were witnessing occurred less than 1.4 billion years after the big bang. However, existing theoretical and computer models suggest that a protocluster as large as SPT2349-56 should have taken much longer to evolve.

“How this assembly of galaxies got so big, so fast is a mystery,” Tim Miller, a doctoral candidate at Yale University and lead author of one of the papers, said in the statement. “It wasn’t built up gradually over billions of years, as astronomers might expect. This discovery provides a great opportunity to study how massive galaxies came together to build enormous galaxy clusters.”

Paper. The Formation of a Massive Galaxy Cluster Core at z = 4.3 (open access)

Paper. An Extreme Proto-cluster of Luminous Dusty Starbursts in the Early Universe (open access)

File under: The science is never settled.

File:GRAIL's gravity map of the moon.jpg
gravity map of Moon/NASA

See also: Textbook theory of moon’s origin is challenged

Space.com: Scientists finally know how old Moon is What’s surprising, really, is how little we know about the moon in general.

Another moon origin theory: Epic crash

How the Moon Formed: 5 Wild Lunar Theories (Mike Wall at Space.com, 2014)

Our moon formed in collision with embryo planet?

and

Origin of the moon still shrouded in mystery

4 Replies to ““Complete surprise”: Stars are not necessarily born in the way we thought. Also, galaxies can form much faster than thought

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    So God could have created the stars in one day. 😉

  2. 2
    ET says:

    How long is one of God’s days?

  3. 3
    Edsword says:

    Mung ~ Since time is a function of the universe, there is no reason to believe that God did not create the stars in a single day, because God would have created time as well. Time also does not have to be the same elsewhere in the universe. The apparent age of the universe is no reason to discount that God, even specifically the God of the Bible created it. We are confined to see things only from one perspective and things can look very different at another perspective. Liken it to looking at a 20 ft stain glass window from 1 ft and then stepping back about 30 ft from the window. The 1 ft perspective sees broken glass, the 30 ft perspective sees a beautiful mosaic. Science will likely never answer the biggest questions because we can’t step far enough back.

  4. 4
    DATCG says:

    The artist conception is always interesting interpretation of what Astronomers actually view.

    The open-access paper linked by News above gives us what astronomers see on page 4…

    http://www.eso.org/public/arch.....o1812b.pdf

    Question, is “Dark Matter” the “JUNK” DNA of Astronomy?

    Another question, How old are the galaxies in the cluster? They had to have formed what, 300 million or more years earlier?

    From ScienceDaily – 2012 study,
    First stars, galaxies formed more rapidly than expected

    “We find that the epoch of reionization lasted less than 500 million years and began when the universe was at least 250 million years old,” said Oliver Zahn, a postdoctoral fellow at the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study. “Before this measurement, scientists believed that reionization lasted 750 million years or longer, and had no evidence as to when reionization began.”

    How accurate are these estimates? And how much more will astronomers discover in the future to change/update the current understandings in the future with greater technology?

    Will we find even more rapid evolution of stars and galaxies with better instruments in future?

    Massive Horizontal Star Transfer? 😉 HST? Between galaxies that share stars?

    Will we find out their simulations are wrong? After all, if this information is all changing as technology improves, are the simulations missing important data and functions as models today, that will radically alter simulations for the future?

    Much like IPCC Climate models were off by wide margins from the beginning here on earth?

    Just some thoughts.

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