The ALMA managed to capture spectacular images of the aftermath of a star meeting. More exactly, it observed the effects of two stars that either collided or just touched. This event took place in an area considered a ‘star-factory’, the Orion Molecular Cloud or OMC-1.
ALMA or the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array located in Northern Chile was trained towards OMC-1 which is situated some 1,350 light-years away. It is believed that protostars began forming in the area some 100,000 years ago. As they started accumulating gas, some of them may have also gotten drawn together, due to gravity. Some 500 years ago, two such stars may have met.
This star meeting could have been anything from a collision to a mere ‘graze’. Nonetheless, the event resulted in a powerful eruption. This is believed to have released as much energy as the Sun would have produced in around 10 million years.
The Star Meeting Affected The Entire System
Such an incident may have also had an impact on the neighboring stars. More exactly, this energy-intensive event may have launched the remaining protostars out of their nursery.
According to the ALMA website, this may have sent the forming stars off into the interstellar space at a speed of over 93 miles per second.
“What we see in this once calm stellar nursery is a cosmic version of a 4th of July fireworks display, with giant streamers rocketing off in all directions.”
This is according to John Bally, a University of Colorado researcher. He is also the lead author of a paper on the matter, published in the Astrophysical Journal.
Together with his team, Bally studied the debris left behind by the star meeting. According to observations, the resulting streamers could have extended even up to about one light-year, from one end to another. Bally also stated that the ALMA observations have offered a new insight into such meetings, especially as they take place at star birth, not death.
Image Source: Wikimedia