May 14, 2018

This ‘singing’ space cloud is where stars and planets are born

Posted by in categories: materials, space

Long before our Sun formed it was nothing more than a bunch of material floating listlessly in a large cloud of gas, dust, and debris. These space clouds, called nebulas, are where stars and planets are born, eventually coalescing into larger bodies which become slaves to gravity and form systems such as the one we currently reside in. But what factors affect star and planet formation, and what ultimately determines the type of stars that form? Using observations of one very special nebula, scientists now think have begun to understand.

One of the biggest hurdles in studying these molecular space clouds is that telescopes can only produce a 2D picture of them, making it impossible to model the interior structure and movements of the dust and gasses. Researchers focused on the cloud known as Musca, which lies hundreds of light years away from Earth, but is still close enough to study. The scientists discovered that this particular cloud is “singing.”

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