Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stjernedannelse I Carinatåken: Star Formation in the Carina Nebula

Bildet avdekker derfor skyer av støv og molekylær gass, hovedsakelig hydrogen, som stjerner kan dannes fra. Med en temperatur på –250 grader Celsius er støvkornene svært kalde, og den svake strålingen de sender ut kan bare sees på submillimeter bølgelengder, som er mye lengre enn bølgelengdene til synlig lys. Submillimeterlys er derfor nøkkelen til å undersøke hvordan stjerner fødes og hvordan de vekselvirker med skyene de ble dannet fra.

The Carina Nebula has been noted for its voluminous amounts of star formation which occurs within its colorful gas pouches and dark matter rivers. Many astronomers have been fascinated by the birth of new stars which occur here, but now with the APEX telescope in submillimeter-wavelengths, astronomers are able to see farther into what this nebula actually is. According to the European Southern Observatory, the Carina Nebula is a place where stars are violently birthed, which the coming forth of the greatest-massed stars take place; "an ideal arena" where the correlation and interaction between these new stars and their parents.

These stars are not your typical stars (like the Sun), but are high-energy stars which live only about one million years (rather young on astronomical scales; for comparison, the sun is to live for ten billion years). Despite the fact of their short life spans, they are extremely prolific in the years which are theirs, for when they are young, the emission rate of radiation and stellar winds is catastrophic, which evidently creates the gas cloud around them - perfect for new stellar nurseries. But, within their dying days, large supernovae explosions and higher emission of stellar matter is the greatest - ending everything with a very large supernova explosion, and hence creating itself to be either a black hole, a neutron star, etc. 

Eta Carinae, a binary (or multiple) star is a variable one - changing magnitude ever so often. In February 2011, this binary (etc) was at 4.47 apparent magnitude, but it's true magnitude is -5.50 (approximately). This is a very luminous star and it sets an example as one of the luminous stars of the Carina Nebula. It's mass is terribly large, 100-150 times that of our sun, and is soon (in the next million years) to explode as a supernova, ending its prolific life. How will Eta Carinae be prolific? After the supernova explosion has taken place, Eta Carinae will emit much stellar matter so that a star nursery is formed, henceforth new stars will come from that gas field.

One theory of Eta Carinae's ultimate fate
You can read more about the Carina Nebula at European Southern Observatory. [The Norwegian text above can be found in the article above.]


  1. NOTE - the Norwegian text is in the "Norwegian" article;

  2. TRANSLATION: The image therefore reveals the clouds of dust and molecular gas — mostly hydrogen — from which stars may form. At -250ºC, the dust grains are very cold, and the faint glow emanating from them can only be seen at submillimetre wavelengths, significantly longer than those of visible light. Submillimetre light is, therefore, key to studying how stars form and how they interact with their parent clouds.

    Credit ESO