Blogs about stars

The starts that form the cosmic river in red with a Gaia map in the background (Image Meingast et al / Gaia DR2 skymap)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” reports the discovery of what was called a river of stars, a stream of stars a little over 300 light years away from us that occupies most of the southern sky. Astronomers of the University of Vienna used information collected by ESA’s Gaia space probe and published in the so-called Data Release 2 (DR2) to discover at least 4,000 stars that have been moving together in space since their formation, which was about a billion years ago.

Supernovae and water in rocky planets

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” reports the results of a series of computer simulations conducted to better understand the mechanisms of rocky planets formation. A team of researchers concluded that there are probably two types of planetary systems: those similar to the solar system, with planets containing relatively little water, and those in which there are above all the so-called ocean planets or waterworlds. The difference may have been caused by the presence of a massive star nearby that ejected radioactive materials that have at least partially dried out the planets. This might have led to the emergence of a temperate climate on Earth.

The protoplanetary disk surrounding the star Orion Source I (Image ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); NRAO/AUI/NSF; Gemini Observatory/AURA)

An article published in the journal “The Astrophysical Journal” reports the discovery of the presence of salts and in particular of the ordinary table salt, in the protoplanetary disk surrounding the young star Orion Source I. A team of astronomers used the ALMA radio telescope to detect the “chemical signatures” that indicate the presence of a number of molecules including two salts. In particular, sodium chloride seems to make up a considerable part of the disk given that the estimated mass is around one sextillion kilograms, more or less equivalent to the water of the Earth’s oceans.

A newborn star in a giant bubble in the Large Magellanic Cloud

An article published in the journal “Nature” reports the discovery of a jet of materials from a young massive star in an area called LHA 120-N 180B, or simply N180 B, a star formation region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. A team of researchers led by Anna McLeod used the MUSE instrument installed on the VLT in Chile to study the area and in particular the jet cataloged as HH 1177, the first of this type detected in visible light outside the Milky Way.

False-color image of V883 Ori. The distribution of dust is shown in orange and the distribution of methanol, an organic molecule, is shown in blue. (Image ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Lee et al.)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” reports the discovery of complex organic molecules (COMs) in the protoplanetary disk of the star V883 Orionis, or simply V883 Ori. A team of researchers led by Jeong-Eun Lee of Kyung Hee University, South Korea, used the ALMA radio telescope to detect the “chemical signatures” of compounds such as methanol, acetaldehyde, methyl formate, acetonitrile and acetone after a sudden outburst caused the snow line to move causing the sublimation of frozen materials and the consequent release of those compounds.