Lonely Baby Star

lonely baby star

The scientists discovered a lonely baby star that challenges the previous theories on star formation.

CX330, the lonely baby star, was first detected in 2009 after the space observatories caught a stream of X-rays coming from its location. Its activity since then was to throw materials into the dust and gas surrounding it.

NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory took notice of the baby while surveying the central bulge of the Milky Way. While other measurements detected optical light coming from the object, no one knew what type of space formation they were dealing with.

However, a postdoctoral researcher from the Texas Tech University in Lubbock verified the infrared images from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer and discovered the warm dust surrounding the object. The supposition was the dust had been heated by an outburst.

While comparing the data, the researchers came to the conclusion that CX330 is a baby star that in the process of creation for several years. Its brightness increased several times in just three years.

“We tried various interpretations for it, and the only one that makes sense is that this rapidly growing young star is forming in the middle of nowhere,” said Chris Britt, lead author of a study.

CX330 is behaving similarly to FU Orionis, another young star that had its outburst in the 1930s. However, the star is more compact; it’s hotter and more massive than the other young stars. It also launches flows of materials.

The explanation would be that the disk heated and became ionized, increasing the rate of material falls into the star.

Only 10 FU Orionis objects had been discovered so far, and all were located in star nurseries. However, CX330 is located a thousand light-years away from any region of star formation.

While the scientists have just now discovered this type of stars, they presume that there might be a lot more formations like this in space. They just didn’t know what to look for.

The researchers believe that it may be improbable for the star to have been born in a nursery and then ejected to its present remote location. CX330 is still just 1 million years old, and it’s consuming its disk. Therefore it may be that it formed close to its current location.

The lonely baby star may also give clues to alternative ways in which stars are formed. One scenario is that the stars form through turbulence, the density of gas gravitationally collapsing into a new object. Another model states that stars begin as small sized cores and then fight over the material in the cloud.

There is yet another theory that other stars are surrounding CX330, even if they hadn’t been detected until now. However, the researchers do not believe any planets would form in the system, as the massive star will have a violent fate and it will expand intense heat for centuries.

Image Source: Flickr