Astronomers have claimed that vast O-type stars are littered across the galaxy destroying young planets before they have had time to form. A research team from US and Canadian are using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to discover that massive quantities of ultraviolet radiation from stars 16-times the mass of our own Sun can destroy the raw materials for fresh planetary systems.
The researchers were tracking stars and protostars in the Orion Nebula when they found that any protostars within 0.1 light years (approx 600bn miles) of an O-type star would have their raw material wiped out by the radiation before it even had a chance to cluster together. Astronomer Rita Mann explained the situation, “Using ALMA, we looked at dozens of embryonic stars with planet-forming potential and, for the first time, found clear indications where protoplanetary disks simply vanished under the intense glow of a neighbouring massive star”
Scientist estimate that it takes millions of years for gases and stellar dust to begin to combine into something denser and over further time, form into planets. The raw materials in these pre-clusters are believed to come from the explosions of massive stars going supernova. James Di Francesco, National Research Council of Canada said, “Massive stars are hot and hundreds of times more luminous than our Sun. Their energetic photons can quickly deplete a nearby protoplanetary disk by heating up its gas, breaking it up, and sweeping it away.”
Telescopes such as Hubble have previously allowed astronomers to view very young protostars, (known as proplyds) in Orion; they have lacked the skill to recognize how much mass each one had. But using ALMA meant researcher teams could look inside these forms, to reveal what dust was contained within them. The team says that with future investigations they will hopefully indicate how ‘common’ solar systems such as our own are. Who knows? Maybe there are a couple of ‘Sith’ trying to control star systems?
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