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The “yellow balls” offer a new idea of ​​star formation


An example of a yellow ball (left, in a circle) and a balloon (right, in a circle), as seen in NASA̵

7;s Spitzer Space Telescope infrared. The typical yellow ball has a diameter of about a light year, while the bubble can grow up to tens of light years. This fake color image uses a blue-green-red color scheme to represent the infrared wavelengths used in the Milky Way project, and generates the “yellow” color of the function. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

An endless discovery by civilian scientists has provided a unique new window to the diverse environment that produces stars and star clusters, revealing the presence of “star cribs” before newborn stars emerge from their birth clouds, according to the Grace Wolf Planetary Science Institute.

Yellowballs are small compact features that were identified in infrared images obtained by the Spitzer Space Telescope during online discussions on the Milky Way project, an initiative of the online citizen science platform zooniverse.org, which asked citizen scientists to help identifying characteristics associated with, massive stars larger than 10 solar masses, “said Wolf-Chase, lead author of The Milky Way Project: Probing Star Formations with First Results on Yellow Balls from DR2, which appears in Astrophysical Journal. “Early research suggests that yellow balls are produced by young stars as they heat the surrounding gas and dust from which they were born.”

The yellow balls discovered by civilian scientists shed infrared light at a very early stage in the development of star clusters, when they were only a hundred thousand years old. “This is the moment when their presence is revealed for the first time, but they remain embedded in their dusty birth cocoons,” Wolf-Chase said. “This allows us to relate the properties of stars to their birth environment, as if a person were giving birth to a hundred or more babies at once.”


This image shows part of the Milky Way used in the analysis presented in the paper with yellow balls. Yellow balls, which represent regions not associated with massive stars, circle. The image uses green and red color schemes to highlight complex organic molecules and dust. Credit: Charles Curton, Iowa State University / NASA / Speaker

The study shows that the formation of stellar clusters – protoclusters – of essentially all masses pass through the yellow ball stage. Some of these protoclusters form massive stars larger than 10 solar masses that will sculpt their medium into “bubbles” through strong stellar winds and harsh ultraviolet radiation, while others do not. In a million years, bubbles can expand to tens of light years.

“We have also shown that we can collect information about the masses and ages of evolving star clusters only through the infrared” colors “of the yellow balls, without other extensive observations such as spectroscopy,” said Wolf-Chase. “This is important because observation time is limited, and if we can tell a lot about thousands of these objects from a few relatively simple observations, it’s a great time saver and helps us identify particularly interesting yellow balls for future observations with higher resolution. ”

During the search for “bubbles” in the Milky Way project, civilian scientists used the project’s discussion board to mark small, rounded objects that appear “yellow” in the representative color infrared images. “Scientists initially thought that these could be very young versions of the bubbles, and we included the identification of the yellow balls as a key goal in the Milky Way project, which launched in 2016,” Wolf-Chase said. This led to the identification of 6,176 yellow balls over more than a third of the Milky Way. Their distinctive “yellow” appearance refers to the wavelengths that track complex organic molecules and dust as they are warmed by many young stars. embedded in their birth clouds. ”

“Our article analyzes a subset of 516 yellow balls and shows that only about 20% of yellow balls will form bubbles associated with massive stars, while about 80% of these objects determine the location of regions forming less massive stars,” he said. Wolf-Chase. “This work demonstrates the great value of science to citizens in opening a new window to our understanding of star formation.”

Star astronomers answer a question posed by civilian scientists: “What are yellow balls?”

More information:
The Milky Way project: probing stars with first results on DR2 Yellow Balls. Astrophysical Journal, doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/abe87a

Provided by the Planetary Science Institute

Quote: “Yellowballs” offers new information on star formation (2021, April 13), retrieved on April 14, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-yellowballs-insights-star-formation.html

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