Astronomy

What percentage of the hydrogen today has never been in a star

What percentage of the hydrogen today has never been in a star

It stands to reason that some of the hydrogen and helium that formed directly as a product of the big bang might never have fallen into a star to re-ejected when that star explodes. My question is, given the best theory, what percentage of that matter has managed to drift without being sucked into a star. Do we have any idea?


About 70% of the baryonic matter in the universe is hydrogen, with a mean density of about $4 imes 10^{-29}$ kg/m$^3$.

Most of the stars that have ever been born are still alive, since an average star is only about $0.25 M_{odot}$ and has a lifetime much longer than the age of the universe (so very little material has actually been recycled).

If we assume there are $10^{22}$ stars of $0.25 M_{odot}$ in an observable universe of radius 47 billion light years, that are 70% H by mass, the "stellar" hydrogen is only one part in 73.

So, there is only one hydrogen nucleus (a proton) in a star for every 73 in the universe. This ratio would have been smaller in the past (E.g. when theSun was born). But as I mentioned, most of this hydrogen (about 90%) is in stars that are longer lived than the universe. Therefore my very rough estimate is that around 1 hydrogen atom in every 1000 on Earth has been inside a star. This contrasts markedly with say that 100% of carbon and oxygen atoms have been inside a star.

EDIT: To be fair, this calculation hinges a lot on how many stars there are in the observable universe. This number is very uncertain and could be higher - perhaps $10^{23}$ (see here), in which case my numbers are somewhat pessimistic and it might be more like 1 H atom in 7 is inside a star and 1 H atom in about 100 on Earth were inside a star. However, I don't think there is any argument that the majority of hydrogen in the universe is not, and has never been, in a star, but whether that is 90% or 99% is still moot.


Hubble observes one-of-a-kind star nicknamed ‘Nasty 1’

This artist’s illustration reveals a vast disc of gas surrounding a massive, bright Wolf-Rayet star known by its catalogue name of NaSt1. A close companion star is pulling gas from the Wolf-Rayet, shown by the bridge of bright material connecting the two stars. This act of celestial cannibalism exposes the massive star’s hot, helium core. Some of the material, however, is escaping into space, forming the huge disc. This disc structure has never been seen before around a Wolf-Rayet star. Image credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI). Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behaviour has never been seen before in our Milky Way galaxy. In fact, the star is so weird that astronomers have nicknamed it “Nasty 1,” a play on its catalogue name of NaSt1. The star may represent a brief transitory stage in the evolution of extremely massive stars.

First discovered several decades ago, Nasty 1 was identified as a Wolf-Rayet star, a rapidly evolving star that is much more massive than our Sun. The star loses its hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing its super-hot and extremely bright helium-burning core.

But Nasty 1 doesn’t look like a typical Wolf-Rayet star. The astronomers using Hubble had expected to see twin lobes of gas flowing from opposite sides of the star, perhaps similar to those emanating from the massive star Eta Carinae, which is a Wolf-Rayet candidate. Instead, Hubble revealed a pancake-shaped disc of gas encircling the star. The vast disc is nearly 2 trillion miles wide, and may have formed from an unseen companion star that snacked on the outer envelope of the newly formed Wolf-Rayet. Based on current estimates, the nebula surrounding the stars is just a few thousand years old, and as close as 3,000 light-years from Earth.

“We were excited to see this disc-like structure because it may be evidence for a Wolf-Rayet star forming from a binary interaction,” said study leader Jon Mauerhan of the University of California, Berkeley. “There are very few examples in the galaxy of this process in action because this phase is short-lived, perhaps lasting only a hundred thousand years, while the timescale over which a resulting disc is visible could be only ten thousand years or less.”

According to the team’s scenario, a massive star evolves very quickly, and as it begins to run out of hydrogen, it swells up. Its outer hydrogen envelope becomes more loosely bound and vulnerable to gravitational stripping, or a type of stellar cannibalism, by the nearby companion star. In that process, the more compact star winds up gaining mass, and the original massive star loses its hydrogen envelope, exposing its helium core to become a Wolf-Rayet star.

Another way Wolf-Rayet stars are said to form is when a massive star ejects its own hydrogen envelope in a strong stellar wind streaming with charged particles. The binary interaction model where a companion star is present is gaining traction because astronomers realise that at least 70 percent of massive stars are members of double-star systems. Direct mass loss alone also cannot account for the number of Wolf-Rayet stars relative to other less-evolved massive stars in the galaxy.

“We’re finding that it is hard to form all the Wolf-Rayet stars we observe by the traditional wind mechanism, because mass loss isn’t as strong as we used to think,” said Nathan Smith of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who is a co-author on the new NaSt1 paper. “Mass exchange in binary systems seems to be vital to account for Wolf-Rayet stars and the supernovae they make, and catching binary stars in this short-lived phase will help us understand this process.”

But the mass-transfer process in mammoth binary systems isn’t always efficient. Some of the stripped matter can spill out during the dynamical gravitational tussle between the stars, creating a disc around the binary. “That’s what we think is happening in Nasty 1,” Mauerhan said. “We think there is a Wolf-Rayet star buried inside the nebula, and we think the nebula is being created by this mass-transfer process. So this type of sloppy stellar cannibalism actually makes Nasty 1 a rather fitting nickname.” This visible-light image taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveals a pancake-shaped disc of gas around “Nasty 1” glowing brightly in the light of ionised nitrogen. The knot at left of centre is an unusually bright clump of gas. The vast structure is nearly 2 trillion miles wide and the Nasty 1 system may be as close as 3,000 light-years from Earth. Image credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Mauerhan (University of California, Berkeley). AN animation by Ade Ashford. The star’s catalog name, NaSt1, is derived from the first two letters of each of the two astronomers who discovered it in 1963, Jason Nassau and Charles Stephenson.

Viewing the Nasty 1 system hasn’t been easy. The system is so heavily cloaked in gas and dust, it blocks even Hubble’s view of the stars. So Mauerhan’s team cannot measure the mass of each star, the distance between them, or the amount of material spilling onto the companion star.

Previous observations of Nasty 1 have provided some information on the gas in the disc. The material, for example, is travelling about 22,000 miles per hour in the outer nebula, slower than similar stars. The comparatively slow speed indicates that the star expelled its material through a less violent event than Eta Carinae’s explosive outbursts, where the gas is travelling hundreds of thousands of miles per hour.

Nasty 1 may also be shedding the material sporadically. Past studies in infrared light have shown evidence for a compact pocket of hot dust very close to the central stars. Recent observations by Mauerhan and colleagues at the University of Arizona, using the Magellan telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, have resolved a larger pocket of cooler dust that may be indirectly scattering the light from the central stars. The presence of warm dust implies that it formed very recently, perhaps in spurts, as chemically enriched material from the two stellar winds collides at different points, mixes, flows away, and cools. Sporadic changes in the wind strength or the rate the companion star strips the main star’s hydrogen envelope might also explain the clumpy structure and gaps seen farther out in the disc.

To measure the hypersonic winds from each star, the astronomers turned to NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The observations revealed scorching hot plasma, indicating that the winds from both stars are indeed colliding, creating high-energy shocks that glow in X-rays. These results are consistent with what astronomers have observed from other Wolf-Rayet systems.

The chaotic mass-transfer activity will end when the Wolf-Rayet star runs out of material. Eventually, the gas in the disc will dissipate, providing a clear view of the binary system.

“What evolutionary path the star will take is uncertain, but it will definitely not be boring,” said Mauerhan. “Nasty 1 could evolve into another Eta Carinae-type system. To make that transformation, the mass-gaining companion star could experience a giant eruption because of some instability related to the acquiring of matter from the newly formed Wolf-Rayet. Or, the Wolf-Rayet could explode as a supernova. A stellar merger is another potential outcome, depending on the orbital evolution of the system. The future could be full of all kinds of exotic possibilities depending on whether it blows up or how long the mass transfer occurs, and how long it lives after the mass transfer ceases.”


Nasty 1: Hubble Uncovers Surprising New Clues about Unique Wolf-Rayet Star

Astronomers using the Wide Field Camera 3 on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a pancake-shaped disk of gas around an extremely bright star in the Milky Way Galaxy. The star is nicknamed ‘Nasty 1,’ derived from its catalog name of NaSt1.

This illustration reveals a vast disk of gas surrounding the Wolf-Rayet star Nasty 1, shown at center. A close companion star is pulling gas from the star, shown by the bridge of bright material connecting the two stars. This act of celestial cannibalism exposes the massive star’s hot, helium core. Some of the material, however, is escaping into space, forming the huge disk. This disk structure has never been seen before around a Wolf-Rayet star. Image credit: NASA / ESA / G. Bacon, STScI.

Nasty 1 is also known as Wolf-Rayet 122 or WR 122. The star’s catalogue name, NaSt1, is derived from the first two letters of each of the two astronomers who discovered it in 1963, Jason Nassau and Charles Stephenson.

The star lies at a distance of about 3,000 light-years and is thought to be a Wolf-Rayet star – a massive, rapidly evolving star weighing well over 10 times the mass of our Sun. It is losing its hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing its super-hot and extremely bright helium-burning core.

But Nasty 1 doesn’t look like a typical Wolf-Rayet star. The astronomers using Hubble had expected to see twin lobes of gas flowing from opposite sides of the star, perhaps similar to those emanating from the massive star Eta Carinae, which is a Wolf-Rayet candidate.

Instead, they revealed a pancake-shaped disk of gas encircling the star. The vast disk is nearly 2 trillion miles wide, and may have formed from an unseen companion star that snacked on the outer envelope of the newly formed Wolf-Rayet.

“We were excited to see this disk-like structure because it may be evidence for a Wolf-Rayet star forming from a binary interaction. There are very few examples in the galaxy of this process in action because this phase is short-lived, perhaps lasting only a hundred thousand years, while the timescale over which a resulting disk is visible could be only ten thousand years or less,” said Dr Jon Mauerhan of the University of California, Berkeley, lead author of the paper reporting the results in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (arXiv.org preprint).

In the scenario proposed by Dr Mauerhan and co-authors, a massive star evolves very quickly, and as it begins to run out of hydrogen, it swells up. Its outer hydrogen envelope becomes more loosely bound and vulnerable to gravitational stripping, or a type of stellar cannibalism, by a nearby companion star. In that process, the more compact companion star winds up gaining mass, and the original massive star loses its hydrogen envelope, exposing its helium core to become a Wolf-Rayet star.

Compass and scale image of the Wolf-Rayet star Nasty 1. Image credit: NASA / ESA / Z. Levay, STScI / J. Mauerhan, University of California, Berkeley.

Another way Wolf-Rayet stars are said to form is when a massive star ejects its own hydrogen envelope in a strong stellar wind streaming with charged particles. The binary interaction model where a companion star is present is gaining traction because astronomers realize that at least 70 percent of massive stars are members of double-star systems. Direct mass loss alone also cannot account for the number of Wolf-Rayet stars relative to other less-evolved massive stars in the galaxy.

“We’re finding that it is hard to form all the Wolf-Rayet stars we observe by the traditional wind mechanism, because mass loss isn’t as strong as we used to think,” said co-author Dr Nathan Smith of the University of Arizona in Tucson.

“Mass exchange in binary systems seems to be vital to account for Wolf-Rayet stars and the supernovae they make, and catching binary stars in this short-lived phase will help us understand this process.”

But the mass transfer process in mammoth binary systems isn’t always efficient. Some of the stripped matter can spill out during the gravitational tussle between the stars, creating a disk around the binary.

“That’s what we think is happening in Nasty 1. We think there is a Wolf-Rayet star buried inside the nebula, and we think the nebula is being created by this mass-transfer process. So this type of sloppy stellar cannibalism actually makes Nasty 1 a rather fitting nickname,” Dr Mauerhan said.

Jon Mauerhan et al. 2015. Multiwavelength observations of NaSt1 (WR 122): equatorial mass loss and X-rays from an interacting Wolf–Rayet binary. MNRAS 450 (3): 2551-2563 doi: 10.1093/mnras/stv257


Helium Hydride Ion Spotted in Space for First Time

When the Universe was still very young, only a few kinds of atoms existed. Astrophysicists believe that around 100,000 years after the Big Bang, ionized hydrogen and neutral helium atoms combined to make the helium hydride ion (HeH + ) for the first time. This molecule should be present in some parts of the modern Universe, but it has never been detected in space — until now. A team of researchers from the United States, Germany and France discovered its signature in NGC 7027, a planetary nebula located approximately 3,000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, using NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

Güsten et al detected the first type of molecule that ever formed in the Universe — HeH + . This discovery confirms a key part of our basic understanding of the early Universe and how it evolved over billions of years into the complex chemistry of today. Image credit: NASA’s Ames Research Center.

“HeH + was lurking out there, but we needed the right instruments making observations in the right position — and SOFIA was able to do that perfectly,” said Dr. Harold Yorke, director of the SOFIA Science Center.

Today, the Universe is filled with large, complex structures such as planets, stars and galaxies. But more than 13 billion years ago, following the Big Bang, the early Universe was hot, and all that existed were a few types of atoms, mostly helium and hydrogen.

As atoms combined to form the first molecules, the Universe was finally able to cool and began to take shape. Astrophysicists have inferred that HeH + was this first, primordial molecule.

Once cooling began, hydrogen atoms could interact with HeH + , leading to the creation of molecular hydrogen — the molecule primarily responsible for the formation of the first stars.

Stars went on to forge all the elements that make up our rich, chemical cosmos of today.

The problem, though, is that scientists could not find HeH + in space. This first step in the birth of chemistry was unproven, until now.

“The lack of evidence of the very existence of HeH + in interstellar space was a dilemma for astronomy for decades,” said Dr. Rolf Guesten, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Germany.

In 1925, chemists were able to create HeH + in a laboratory by coaxing the helium to share one of its electrons with a hydrogen ion.

Then, in the late 1970s, astronomers studying NGC 7027 thought that this environment might be just right to form HeH + . UV radiation and heat from the aging star create conditions suitable for HeH + to form. But their observations were inconclusive. Subsequent efforts hinted it could be there, but HeH + continued to elude detection.

In 2016, scientists turned to SOFIA for help. Flying up to 45,000 feet (13.7 km), SOFIA makes observations above the interfering layers of Earth’s atmosphere. But it has a benefit space telescopes don’t — it returns after every flight.

“We’re able to change instruments and install the latest technology. This flexibility allows us to improve observations and respond to the most pressing questions that scientists want answered,” said SOFIA deputy project scientist Dr. Naseem Rangwala.

The study was published in the April 11 issue of the journal Nature.

Rolf Güsten et al. 2019. Astrophysical detection of the helium hydride ion HeH + . Nature 568: 357-359 doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1090-x


Telescope finds never-before-seen 'river' of hydrogen in space

GREEN BANK, W.Va., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A never-before-seen river of hydrogen flowing in space may help explain how some spiral galaxies keep up a steady pace of star formation, a U.S. scientist says.

Astronomer D.J. Pisano, using the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, discovered the very faint, very tenuous filament of gas streaming into the nearby galaxy NGC 6946, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory reported Tuesday.

"We knew that the fuel for star formation had to come from somewhere. So far, however, we've detected only about 10 percent of what would be necessary to explain what we observe in many galaxies," Pisano, from West Virginia University, said. "A leading theory is that rivers of hydrogen -- known as cold flows -- may be ferrying hydrogen through intergalactic space, clandestinely fueling star formation. But this tenuous hydrogen has been simply too diffuse to detect, until now."

Astronomers say a cold flow is hydrogen gas from intergalactic space that has never been heated to extreme temperatures by a galaxy's star birth or supernova processes.

Pisano used the highly-sensitive Green Bank Telescope to detect the glow emitted by neutral hydrogen gas connecting NGC 6946 with its cosmic neighbors, strongly supporting a theory larger galaxies could receive a constant influx of cold hydrogen by syphoning it off other less-massive companions.

Such flows could explain what is fueling the sustained star formation seen in NGC 6946 and similar spiral galaxies, astronomers said.


GBT Sees River of Hydrogen Flowing through Space

Using the National Science Foundation’s Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), astronomer D.J. Pisano from West Virginia University has discovered what could be a never-before-seen river of hydrogen flowing through space. This very faint, very tenuous filament of gas is streaming into the nearby galaxy NGC 6946 and may help explain how certain spiral galaxies keep up their steady pace of star formation.

“We knew that the fuel for star formation had to come from somewhere. So far, however, we’ve detected only about 10 percent of what would be necessary to explain what we observe in many galaxies,” said Pisano. “A leading theory is that rivers of hydrogen – known as cold flows – may be ferrying hydrogen through intergalactic space, clandestinely fueling star formation. But this tenuous hydrogen has been simply too diffuse to detect, until now.”

Spiral galaxies, like our own Milky Way, typically maintain a rather tranquil but steady pace of star formation. Others, like NGC 6946, which is located approximately 22 million light-years from Earth on the border of the constellations Cepheus and Cygnus, are much more active, though less-so than more extreme starburst galaxies. This raises the question of what is fueling the sustained star formation in this and similar spiral galaxies.

Earlier studies of the galactic neighborhood around NGC 6946 with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) in the Netherlands have revealed an extended halo of hydrogen (a feature commonly seen in spiral galaxies, which may be formed by hydrogen ejected from the disk of the galaxy by intense star formation and supernova explosions). A cold flow, however, would be hydrogen from a completely different source: gas from intergalactic space that has never been heated to extreme temperatures by a galaxy’s star birth or supernova processes.

Using the GBT, Pisano was able to detect the glow emitted by neutral hydrogen gas connecting NGC 6946 with its cosmic neighbors. This signal was simply below the detection threshold of other telescopes. The GBT’s unique capabilities, including its immense single dish, unblocked aperture, and location in the National Radio Quiet Zone, enabled it to detect this tenuous radio light.

Astronomers have long theorized that larger galaxies could receive a constant influx of cold hydrogen by syphoning it off other less-massive companions.

In looking at NGC 6946, the GBT detected just the sort of filamentary structure that would be present in a cold flow, though there is another probable explanation for what has been observed. It’s also possible that sometime in the past this galaxy had a close encounter and passed by its neighbors, leaving a ribbon of neutral atomic hydrogen in its wake.

If that were the case, however, there should be a small but observable population of stars in the filaments. Further studies will help to confirm the nature of this observation and could shine light on the possible role that cold flows play in the evolution of galaxies.

These results are published in the Astronomical Journal.

The 100-meter GBT is operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and located in the National Radio Quiet Zone and the West Virginia Radio Astronomy Zone, which protect the incredibly sensitive telescope from unwanted radio interference.


Star formation may be halted by cold ionised hydrogen

For the first time ionised hydrogen has been detected at the lowest frequency ever towards the centre of our galaxy. The findings originate from a cloud that is both very cold (around -230 degrees Celsius) and also ionised, something that has never been detected before. This discovery may help to explain why stars don’t form as quickly as they theoretically could.

The milky way galaxy and our galactic centre by Dave Young (dcysurfer)

Dr. Raymond Oonk of ASTRON, Leiden Observatory and SURFsara led the study which is published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“The possible existence of cold ionised gas had been hinted at in previous work, but this is the first time we clearly see it,” he said.

Ionisation is an energetic process that strips electrons away from atoms. The atom will become electrically charged and can then be called an ion. This typically happens in gas that is very hot (10000 degrees Celsius) and where atoms can easily lose their electrons. It was therefore puzzling to discover the ionised hydrogen from very cold gas in this cloud. Normal energy sources, such as photons from massive stars, would not cause this. More exotic energy forms, such as high energy particles created in supernova shockwaves and near black holes, are more likely to be responsible.

“This discovery shows that the energy needed to ionise hydrogen atoms can penetrate deep into cold clouds. Such cold clouds are believed to be the fuel from which new stars are born,” said Dr. Oonk.

“However, in our galaxy we know that the stellar birth rate is very low, much lower than naively expected. Perhaps the energy observed here acts as a stabiliser for cold clouds, thereby preventing them from collapsing on to themselves and forming new stars.”

A composite image showing our galaxy, the Milky Way, rising above the Engineering Development Array at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. The location of the centre of our galaxy is highlighted alongside the ionised hydrogen (H+) signal detected from this region of sky. The white-blueish light shows the stars making up the Milky Way and the dark patches obscuring this light shows the cold gas that is interspersed between them. Credit: Engineering Development Array image courtesy of ICRAR. Milky Way image courtesy of Sandino Pusta.

The observation was made with the Engineering Development Array (EDA), a prototype station of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) which will be the worlds’ largest radio telescope when it’s built in the next decade.

A/Prof. Randall Wayth from the Curtin University node of ICRAR said the detection was made possible by the wide bandwidth of the EDA and the extremely radio quiet location of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.

“The low frequency portion of the Square Kilometre Array will be built at this location in the coming years, so this excellent result gives us a glimpse of what the SKA will be capable of once it’s built,” he said.

The data reduction was led by Emma Alexander (University of Manchester) as part of her summer student internship at ASTRON.

“It’s a very exciting time to be coming into radio astronomy, and it was great to work on the first high resolution spectroscopic data from this SKA prototype station. The technologies that are being developed for the SKA, and the science results that come from them, will be a driving force for my generation of radio astronomers,” said Alexander.

The Engineering Development Array (EDA) is a separate telescope designed and built by Curtin University. It is a single field-node of 256 antennas, replicating the proposed antenna layout of the SKA-low field nodes, but using Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) dipole antennas. Data taken from the EDA is compared and correlated against the MWA. As the MWA antennas have already been thoroughly characterised, the EDA helps us understand how a larger group of randomly spread antennas can be expected to perform in the given layout. Credit ICRAR.

This work was carried out as a collaboration between the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), Leiden University, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), University of Manchester and the Square Kilometre Array.

The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, better known as ASTRON, is a leading institute for radio astronomy development.

ASTRON’s programme has three principal elements:

  • The operation of front line observing facilities, including especially the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope and LOFAR,
  • The pursuit of fundamental astronomical research using ASTRON facilities, together with a broad range of other telescopes around the world and space-borne instruments (e.g. Sptizer, HST etc.)
  • A strong technology development programme, encompassing both innovative instrumentation for existing telescopes and the new technologies needed for future facilities.

In addition, ASTRON is active in the international science policy arena and is one of the leaders in the international SKA project

The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) is a joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia with support and funding from the State Government of Western Australia.

Original Publication:

‘Spectroscopy with the Engineering Development Array: cold H+ at 63 MHz towards the Galactic Centre’, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on July 9th, 2019.


Star Formation

On a 1993 KKLA broadcast, Dr. Hugh Ross, a Ph.D. graduate of the University of Toronto and Christian astrophysicist who believes in a 15-20 billion-year-old, big-bang initiated universe, debated Dr. Duane Gish, a Christian biochemist who believes in a specially-created, young universe. When I called in with an objection to his assertions concerning star formation, Dr. Ross referred me to a book by Cox and Giuli, a massive, two-volume work on astrophysics published in 1968, implying that the information therein would refute my objections. After reading the relevant portions of their book, I found that they did not support his statements at all and did support my objections. In fact, you will see below, they strongly deny Ross' claims. Stars cannot form naturally. They must be created directly by God.

Most astronomers say that stars form from gravitationally contracting nebular gases despite the fact that star formation has never been observed. Isn't observation a requirement of the scientific method? The assertions of modern cosmology (study of the universe) are often a matter of inferences and opinion rather than fact. Ross recently claimed on another radio program that we have now directly observed star births, referring to observations of infrared emanations coming from a certain gas cloud as evidence of star formation. There are opaque clouds in space with infrared emanations coming from them, but this in no way confirms that stars are forming from the nebular material. The infrared emanations could be due to many things, e.g. a red, cool, supergiant star. <1>His claim is very questionable. Even if stars could form according to current theory, we wouldn't be able to observe it because, as Bart Bok wrote,

"When the initially cool clouds of dust and gas collapse, they heat up. They should first become visible as murky clouds with a star deep inside, and these may be observable only in the infrared. a young star would be embedded in a large envelope of dust and gas. Such a star would have a truly murky atmosphere!"

What actually happens behind that murk is anyone's guess. Alan Boss spoke in these terms:

"What are the early stages in the formation of a star? What determines whether a cloud of star-forming matter will evolve into one, two or several stars? Because clouds of gas, dust and debris largely obscure all but the initial and final stages of the birth of a star, these questions have so far not been answered by direct observation. it has been impossible to date to view the cloud as it collapses through this range of densities. Consequently stars cannot be observed as they form." <3>[my emphasis]

Of course, the estimated time for a gas cloud to contract to the protostar stage, between one million and ten million years, is too long for us to observe, putting star formation outside the scope of the scientific method. <4>The problems associated with the idea that stars can form from the gravitational infalling of a massive volume of nebular gas are great. Star formation by this route is physically impossible. The fairly simple formula for Jeans' Length (Sir James Jeans) shows what is necessary for stellar formation. A gas cloud must be within a critical radius in order to collapse by gravity (Jeans' Length). Jeans' Length (JL) is equal to the Gravitational constant (G) times the mass (M) of the cloud squared, divided by two times the number of moles of gas, times the Gas Constant (R), times the Temperature (T) in kelvins (see Table below). <5>There are other ways to calculate the physical parameters for star formation, but similar problems develop. Leo Blitz says that about 99 percent of the mass of a Giant Molecular Cloud (where stars are thought to form) is molecular hydrogen, H2. <6>I used this fact to calculate the minimum number of moles (n) of hydrogen that would have formed the core of the sun and solved for T. The temperature that the sun's equivalent cloud mass would have to be in order for it to contract under the force of gravity, considering the mass of the Sun, expanding its radius to the distance of one light year, and plugging in the values for the constants. The result was 1.69 degrees K (- 456.68 degrees F. Absolute Zero, 0 degrees K = - 459.67 degrees F), one degree less than the temperature of the 2.726 degrees K cosmic background radiation, according to the latest COBE satellite measurements. <7>The universe is too hot for star formation!

Chapter 26, "Survey of Stellar Evolution," of Cox and Giuli's work was the only chapter on star formation. What they had to say confirms what I said in my original challenge to Dr. Ross. <8>On page 947, they make their first direct comment on star formation:

"The very earliest stages in the star formation process must consist of the condensation of a 'protostar' from the interstellar medium. These stages constitute one of the most poorly understood areas in the whole field of stellar evolution, and we shall simply assume that a protostar has somehow formed." [my emphasis]

Rather than explain how a star could form, Cox and Giuli frankly admitted they didn't know, yet their book served as the sum total of Dr. Ross' refutation to me. They also said that from the time they began writing their chapter on stellar formation, which was in 1966, until the time of publication in 1968, over 1000 papers on star formation had been published, yet not one of them showed any signs of overcoming the major difficulties. I am still surveying recent literature on star formation, and they have no better idea now than then. On page 958, they explain one of the biggest problems:

"One of the major difficulties in the condensation problem is that a cloud of gas and dust of stellar mass with density rho and temperature T typical of gas clouds found in the Galaxy (say rho

100 degrees K in HI (neutral hydrogen) regions) would have too weak a gravitational field to contract under its own gravity,"

which is what Jeans' Length is all about. How can a gas cloud contract in space when the physics disallows it? About ten years after Cox and Giuli wrote their masterpiece, Nobel prize winner, Hannes Alfven, in a neatly written, highly mathematical book, wrote the following:

"There is a general belief that stars are forming by gravitational collapse in spite of vigorous efforts no one has yet found any observational indication of confirmation. Thus the 'generally accepted' theory of stellar formation may be one of a hundred unsupported dogmas which constitute a large part of present-day astrophysics."

Cox and Giuli explain another problem. The spin of a cloud (its angular momentum) would increase as the gas contracted from several light years radius down to the size of a star. The spin would increase to fantastic speeds the more the cloud collapsed. You've probably watched a skater begin spinning and speed up as arms and legs are drawn into the body, this is what would happen to a gas cloud as it contracted. They say, p. 959,

"This rotational velocity would be increased to some 6 x 10 5 km/sec (> c! ) by the time the cloud had shrunk to stellar dimensions, if angular momentum were conserved."

The exclamatory phrase "> c"! means "greater than the speed of light!" which is about 3 x 10 5 km/sec. In other words, they are telling us that the notion of star formation by the gravitational collapse of a gas cloud is unrealistic. The sun is not rotating at twice the speed of light! So where did all the angular momentum go if the sun truly formed by gravitational contraction? They suggest that some of it was transferred to Jupiter and Saturn, which possess 98% of the total angular momentum of the solar system, still far, far less than the angular momentum that would have been generated during the formation of the sun. Clearly, Cox and Giuli had nothing to say that would lend credence to the idea that stars form by gravitational collapse of interstellar gas and dust. Finally, they say,

"It is obvious that real stars somehow manage to come into being hopefully, we shall someday understand in more detail how they do so."

Think about this. They spend several pages almost apologizing for not having the slightest idea how or why stars form from interstellar gas clouds whose densities are so slight that the most powerful vacuums ever created by man are as dense as black holes by comparison. We are talking about a vacuum so complete that less than one atom can be found in one cubic centimeter. <10>If an atom were the size of a basketball, the next closest basketball would be found two-thirds of the way between here and the moon. Try mountain climbing in air that thin! The established laws of physics show that it is impossible for stars to form by gravitational collapse of interstellar gases and dust. Stars came into being because God created them along with everything else.

Astronomers like Bok, Cameron and Spitzer recognize that stars are not going to form by simple gravitational contraction, but that they require some sort of outside influence, like shock waves from the explosion of a star, to push the cloud to greater density to satisfy the requirements described by Sir Jeans and others. Cox and Giuli understood all the problems, but not wishing to credit God, or even acknowledge Him as a possible answer to the problems, they simply said that it had to happen somehow, because the stars are here!

DANGER!


Technical Notes. Read at your own risk.

Jeans' Length:
JL = (G M 2 ) / (2nRT)
JL = 9.467 x 10 15 m = Light year
G = 6.67 x 10 -11 N-m 2 / kg 2
R = 8.314 J / mol-K
M = 10 30 kg
n = 0.5 x 10 33 moles H2 as found in Giant Molecular Clouds.

Astronomy professor, Donald DeYoung, said that when typical values of interstellar cloud mass M and temperature T are inserted in the formula, Jeans' Length is found to be 50-100 times smaller than the average nebular size. He says,

"The conclusion is that stars will not form spontaneously in space since the dominant outward gas force, Fp = (3nRT) / r, will not allow collapse. Instead gas clouds dissipate outward. Furthermore, this simple force comparison ignores the dispersive effects of nebular magnetism, rotation, nonsphericity and turbulence," from "The Origin of the Universe," in Design and Origins in Astronomy, 1983, p. 17.

Twenty years from now, I predict that science will have changed so drastically that Ross' position about star formation and the big bang will be totally passe. Even now there is a contest in Sky & Telescope to rename the big bang to something more palatable since "some astronomers think it conjures up the wrong type creation. Others say it's inaccurate." <11>The judges for the contest are Carl Sagan, Hugh Downs, and Timothy Ferris.

In The Beginning, Did the Earth Have Cloud Covering?

The Bible says that God created the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day of creation. Ross says that the sun and stars, resulting from the big bang, were there from earth's day one but couldn't be seen from the earth because of cloud cover. According to him, the fourth day began when this covering was removed. This is an assumption for which there is no evidence. If this assumption is true, it means the earth was shrouded in opaque water vapor and/or other gases for millions of years until the fourth creation day/age.. I suspect that God, in His wisdom, formed the universe in the order given in Genesis because there is no way that the wisdom of men could explain it naturally. They would be forced to either acknowledge the existence of a Creator or to deny God and call His Word a lie. Without any proof it is easy to suggest that the earth was thus enshrouded, but with what was it enveloped and what is the evidence? Scientists involved in the origin of life research have made many speculations about the composition of the alleged primordial atmosphere. I hope Dave Matson is taking note since he made mention that there might have been a heavy overcast for millions of years to protect evolving biochemical molecules and other precursors for life from destructive ultraviolet radiation in the absence ozone. For sake of clarity and brevity, let's look at what Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen have to say about what would have happened to the constituents of the primordial atmosphere of earth which have been suggested by the evolutionary origin-of-life experimenters:

"Concentrations of some of the most important early atmosphere components would have been diminished by short wavelength, i.e., < 2000, ultraviolet photo dissociation. Atmospheric methane would have polymerized and fallen into the ocean as more complicated hydrocarbons, perhaps forming an oil slick 1-10m deep over the surface of the earth. If this occurred, very small concentrations of methane would predictably have remained in the atmosphere. About 99% of the atmospheric formaldehyde would have been quickly degraded to carbon monoxide and hydrogen by photolysis [destruction by light energy]. Carbon monoxide concentrations in the atmosphere would have been small, however. Carbon monoxide would have been quickly and irreversibly converted to formate in an alkaline ocean. Ammonia photolysis to nitrogen and hydrogen would have occurred very quickly, reducing its atmospheric concentration to so small a value that it could have played no important role in chemical evolution. If all the nitrogen in the contemporary atmosphere had existed in the form of ammonia in the early atmosphere it would have been degraded by ultraviolet light in 30,000 years [later revised by J.P. Ferris and D.E. Nicodem to10 5 10 6 years]. If the ammonia surface mixing ratio were on the order of 10 -5 as Sagan has estimated, then the atmospheric lifetime of ammonia would have been a mere 10 years. It would also have been difficult to maintain substantial levels of hydrogen sulfide in the atmosphere. Hydrogen sulfide would have been photolyzed to free sulfur and hydrogen in no more than 10,000 years. The concentration of hydrogen sulfide in the ocean would have been further attenuated by the formation of metal sulfides with their notoriously low solubilities. The same photo dissociation process would have applied to water to yield hydrogen and oxygen. Some recent studies suggest that, through ultraviolet photolysis of water vapor, atmospheric oxygen did reach an appreciable fraction of today's concentration in early earth times."

Photo dissociation would have raised the oxygen content to about 1%, enough to produce an ozone layer and shield the earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation, but the presence of that much oxygen would have made any spontaneous chemical evolution impossible. Matson also speculated that life might have evolved in hydrothermal vents, and "would not a relatively thin layer of sand, porous rock, a moderate layer of unclear water or some crevice provide the necessary protection?" Perhaps so, but in this case, we must bring up the problem of thermal decay in such situations. Miller and Orgel showed that chemical evolution could not occur if the ocean (or some concentrating pool or absorbing clay) were warmer that 25 degrees C (77 degrees F). All those biotic precursors would have decayed in those warm, primordial soups. Although astronomers believe that the early earth would have been cooler, let's not forget how the earth is supposed to have formed and how hot it would have been. Miller and Orgel pointed out that although 0 degrees C (32 degrees F) would have given life's origin a better chance, -21 degrees C (5.8 degrees F) would have been ideal. <13>Of course, one can speculate endlessly about what might have been and possibilities, and not come within a megaparsec of the truth. The trouble with many evolutionists, such as Matson, is that they believe their speculations are the truth or are so close to the truth that, for all practical purposes, they are the truth. I don't find such speculation the least bit convincing.

I also have trouble with someone who wants to reconcile the Bible with present day science because the scientific method hasn't the slightest ability to address origin issues. Circumstantial evidence, extrapolations, and philosophically-colored inferences about the past based on facts in the present is not science. Origins are completely outside the realm of science, so why do some scientists insist that evolution is fact when they cannot observe it? That is not science. In order for something to qualify as science, it must be observable, we must be able to perform tests, collect data, confirm or deny hypotheses made, and make predictions. The things that we do know are clear: stars cannot form from an extremely thin gas without outside help. Self-gravitational formation of stars also runs against the law of entropy. Although gravitational formation of stars is conceivable, it is not possible. It is also conceptually feasible to make a perpetual motion machine or to build the perfectly efficient machine, but entropy will not allow them.

God's Failed Promise

Finally, I have trouble with someone who denies that the Genesis Flood was a global flood. Ross and many other Christians claim that it was a local flood. They are sitting ducks for skeptics like Dave Matson and Steven Morris. When God made His rainbow covenant He said,

"Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you [that's us] and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. And I establish My covenant with you and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth. Never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh."

If the flood had been only a local flood, then God's promise has failed. There have been many local floods upon the earth, destroying many people and much livestock. Only if the flood had been global in extent would God's promise still hold. Later this year we will look at geology as it relates to the flood, hang in there, Dave. You won't like my explanations any more than you did the first three installments on radiometric dating, but they better explain the facts than do evolutionary ones.

1. Abell, George O., Realm of the Universe, 3rd ed., Saunders, 1984, p. 289

2. Bok, Bart J., "The Birth of Stars," Scientific American, Aug. 1972, pp.54, 59

3. Boss, Alan P., "Collapse and Formation of Stars," Scientific American, Jan 1985, p. 40

5. DeYoung, Donald B. and John C. Whitcomb, "The Origin of the Universe," Design and Origins in Astronomy, George Mulfinger editor, Creation Research Society , 1983. p. 17

6. Blitz, Leo, "Giant Molecular-Cloud Complexes in the Galaxy," Scientific American, Apr. 1982, p. 86

7. Cown, Ron, "COBE: A Match Made in Heaven," Science News, 143 (1993), p. 43.

8. Cox, J.P., and R.T. Giuli, Principles of Stellar Structure: Applications to Stars, 1968.

9. Alfven, Hannes, and Gustaf Arrhenius, Evolution of the Solar System, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C., 1976, p. 480.

10. Struve, Otto, "Interstellar Matter," Sky and Telescope, Jan 1956 Spitzer, Lyman, Jr., Searching Between the Stars, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1982, p. 33

11. The Daily Breeze, 6/11/93

12. Thaxton, Charles B., Walter L. Bradley, Roger L. Olsen, The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories, Philosophical Library, New York, 1984, pp. 43-44.

This book is at the publisher and in the process of being reprinted. It should be available at the end of the month through the Foundation of Thought and Ethics, PO Box 830721, Richardson, TX 75083-0721. The cost will be $15.95. This book should especially be on the reading list of those who confidently think life arose by random processes over millions of years. It is well written, and even the layman could learn from it. Three chapters are available online.


Astronomers Discover a Star That Exploded Multiple Times Over a Fifty Year Period

Supernovae, the explosions of stars, have been observed in the thousands and in all cases they marked the death of a star. Now an international team of astronomers led by Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) has made a bizarre discovery a star that refuses to stop shining.

But in a study published today in the journal Nature, the team discovered a remarkable exception a star that exploded multiple times over a period of more than fifty years. Their observations, which include data from W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawaii, are challenging existing theories on these cosmic catastrophes.

“The spectra we obtained at Keck Observatory showed that this supernova looked like nothing we had ever seen before. This, after discovering nearly 5,000 supernovae in the last two decades,” said Peter Nugent, Senior Scientist and Division Deputy for Science Engagement in the Computational Research Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who co-authored the study. “While the spectra bear a resemblance to normal hydrogen-rich core-collapse supernova explosions, they grew brighter and dimmer at least five times more slowly, stretching an event which normally lasts 100 days to over two years.”

Researchers used the Low Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (LRIS) on the Keck I telescope to obtain spectrum of the star’s host galaxy, and the Deep Imaging and Multi-Object Spectrograph (DEIMOS) on Keck II to obtain high-resolution spectra of the unusual star itself.

The supernova, named iPTF14hls, was discovered in September of 2014 by the Palomar Transient Factory. At the time, it looked like an ordinary supernova. Several months later, LCO astronomers noticed the supernova was growing brighter again after it had faded.

iPTF14hls ​grew ​bright ​and ​dim ​again ​at ​least ​five ​times ​over ​two ​years. ​This ​behavior ​has ​never ​been seen ​in ​previous ​supernovae, ​which ​typically ​remain ​bright ​for approximately 100 days and ​then fade. Adapted from Arcavi et ​al. 2017, ​Nature.

When astronomers went back and looked at archival data, they were astonished to find evidence of an explosion in 1954 at the same location. This star somehow survived that explosion and exploded again in 2014.

“This supernova breaks everything we thought we knew about how they work. It’s the biggest puzzle I’ve encountered in almost a decade of studying stellar explosions,” said lead author Iair Arcavi, a NASA Einstein postdoctoral fellow at LCO and the University of California Santa Barbara.

The study calculated that the star that exploded was at least 50 times more massive than the sun and probably much larger. Supernova iPTF14hls may have been the most massive stellar explosion ever seen. The size of this explosion could be the reason that our conventional understanding of the death of stars failed to explain this event.

Supernova iPTF14hls may be the first example of a “Pulsational Pair Instability Supernova.”

An image taken ​by ​the ​Palomar ​Observatory ​Sky Survey ​reveals ​a ​possible ​explosion ​in the ​year ​1954 ​at the ​location ​of ​iPTF14hls ​(left), ​not ​seen ​in ​a ​later ​image ​taken ​in ​1993 ​(right). ​Supernovae ​are ​known ​to explode only ​once, ​shine ​for ​a ​few ​months ​and ​then fade, ​but ​iPTF14hls ​experienced ​at ​least ​two explosions, 60 ​years ​apart. Adapted ​from Arcavi et ​al. ​2017, ​Nature.

“According to this theory, it is possible that this was the result of star so massive and hot that it generated antimatter in its core,” said co-author Daniel Kasen, an associate professor in the Physics and Astronomy Departments at UC Berkeley and a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Lab. “That would cause the star to go violently unstable, and undergo repeated bright eruptions over periods of years.”

That process may even repeat over decades before the star’s large final explosion and collapse to a black hole.

“These explosions were only expected to be seen in the early universe and should be extinct today. This is like finding a dinosaur still alive today. If you found one, you would question whether it truly was a dinosaur,” said Andy Howell, leader of the LCO supernova group and co-author of the study.

Indeed, the “Pulsational Pair Instability” theory may not fully explain all the data obtained for this event. For example, the energy released by the supernova is more than the theory predicts. This supernova may be something completely new.

Astronomers continue to monitor iPTF14hls, which remains bright three years after it was discovered.

“This is one of those head-scratcher type of events,” said Nugent. “At first we thought it was completely normal and boring. Then it just kept staying bright, and not changing, for month after month. Piecing it all together, from our observations at Palomar Transient Factory, Keck Observatory, LCOGT, and even the images from 1954 in the Palomar Sky Survey, has started to shed light on what this could be. I would really like to find another one like this.”

Publication: Iair Arcavi, et al., “Energetic eruptions leading to a peculiar hydrogen-rich explosion of a massive star,” Nature 551, 210–213 (09 November 2017) doi:10.1038/nature24030


Hubble Uncovers New Clues about a Hefty, Rapidly Aging Star

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers has uncovered surprising new clues about a hefty, rapidly aging star whose behavior has never been seen before in our Milky Way galaxy. Nicknamed it “Nasty 1,” a play on its catalog name of NaSt1, the star may represent a brief transitory stage in the evolution of extremely massive stars.

First discovered several decades ago, Nasty 1 was identified as a Wolf-Rayet star, a rapidly evolving star that is much more massive than our sun. The star loses its hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing its super-hot and extremely bright helium-burning core.

But Nasty 1 doesn’t look like a typical Wolf-Rayet star. The astronomers using Hubble had expected to see twin lobes of gas flowing from opposite sides of the star, perhaps similar to those emanating from the massive star Eta Carinae, which is a Wolf-Rayet candidate. Instead, Hubble revealed a pancake-shaped disk of gas encircling the star. The vast disk is nearly 2 trillion miles wide, and may have formed from an unseen companion star that snacked on the outer envelope of the newly formed Wolf-Rayet. Based on current estimates, the nebula surrounding the stars is just a few thousand years old, and as close as 3,000 light-years from Earth.

“We were excited to see this disk-like structure because it may be evidence for a Wolf-Rayet star forming from a binary interaction,” said study leader Jon Mauerhan of the University of California, Berkeley. “There are very few examples in the galaxy of this process in action because this phase is short-lived, perhaps lasting only a hundred thousand years, while the timescale over which a resulting disk is visible could be only ten thousand years or less.”

In the team’s proposed scenario, a massive star evolves very quickly, and as it begins to run out of hydrogen, it swells up. Its outer hydrogen envelope becomes more loosely bound and vulnerable to gravitational stripping, or a type of stellar cannibalism, by a nearby companion star. In that process, the more compact companion star winds up gaining mass, and the original massive star loses its hydrogen envelope, exposing its helium core to become a Wolf-Rayet star.

Another way Wolf-Rayet stars are said to form is when a massive star ejects its own hydrogen envelope in a strong stellar wind streaming with charged particles. The binary interaction model where a companion star is present is gaining traction because astronomers realize that at least 70 percent of massive stars are members of double-star systems. Direct mass loss alone also cannot account for the number of Wolf-Rayet stars relative to other less-evolved massive stars in the galaxy.

“We’re finding that it is hard to form all the Wolf-Rayet stars we observe by the traditional wind mechanism, because mass loss isn’t as strong as we used to think,” said Nathan Smith of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who is a co-author on the new NaSt1 paper. “Mass exchange in binary systems seems to be vital to account for Wolf-Rayet stars and the supernovae they make, and catching binary stars in this short-lived phase will help us understand this process.”

But the mass transfer process in mammoth binary systems isn’t always efficient. Some of the stripped matter can spill out during the gravitational tussle between the stars, creating a disk around the binary.

“That’s what we think is happening in Nasty 1,” Mauerhan said. “We think there is a Wolf-Rayet star buried inside the nebula, and we think the nebula is being created by this mass-transfer process. So this type of sloppy stellar cannibalism actually makes Nasty 1 a rather fitting nickname.”

The star’s catalogue name, NaSt1, is derived from the first two letters of each of the two astronomers who discovered it in 1963, Jason Nassau and Charles Stephenson.

Viewing the Nasty 1 system hasn’t been easy. The system is so heavily cloaked in gas and dust, it blocks even Hubble’s view of the stars. Mauerhan’s team cannot measure the mass of each star, the distance between them, or the amount of material spilling onto the companion star.

Previous observations of Nasty 1 have provided some information on the gas in the disk. The material, for example, is travelling about 22,000 miles per hour in the outer nebula, slower than similar stars. The comparatively slow speed indicates that the star expelled its material through a less violent event than Eta Carinae’s explosive outbursts, where the gas is travelling hundreds of thousands of miles per hour.

Nasty 1 may also be shedding the material sporadically. Past studies in infrared light have shown evidence for a compact pocket of hot dust very close to the central stars. Recent observations by Mauerhan and colleagues at the University of Arizona, using the Magellan telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, have resolved a larger pocket of cooler dust that may be indirectly scattering the light from the central stars. The presence of warm dust implies that it formed very recently, perhaps in spurts, as chemically enriched material from the two stellar winds collides at different points, mixes, flows away, and cools. Sporadic changes in the wind strength or the rate the companion star strips the main star’s hydrogen envelope might also explain the clumpy structure and gaps seen farther out in the disk.

To measure the hypersonic winds from each star, the astronomers turned to NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The observations revealed scorching hot plasma, indicating that the winds from both stars are indeed colliding, creating high-energy shocks that glow in X-rays. These results are consistent with what astronomers have observed from other Wolf-Rayet systems.

The chaotic mass-transfer activity will end when the Wolf-Rayet star runs out of material. Eventually, the gas in the disk will dissipate, providing a clear view of the binary system.

“What evolutionary path the star will take is uncertain, but it will definitely not be boring,” said Mauerhan. “Nasty 1 could evolve into another Eta Carinae-type system. To make that transformation, the mass-gaining companion star could experience a giant eruption because of some instability related to the acquiring of matter from the newly formed Wolf-Rayet. Or, the Wolf-Rayet could explode as a supernova. A stellar merger is another potential outcome, depending on the orbital evolution of the system. The future could be full of all kinds of exotic possibilities depending on whether it blows up or how long the mass transfer occurs, and how long it lives after the mass transfer ceases.”

The team’s results will appears in the May 21 online edition of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

Publication: Jon Mauerhan, et al., “Multiwavelength observations of NaSt1 (WR 122): equatorial mass loss and X-rays from an interacting Wolf–Rayet binary,” MNRAS (July 01, 2015) 450 (3): 2551-2563 doi: 10.1093/mnras/stv257


Watch the video: Υδρογόνο: Έφτασε το καύσιμο του μέλλοντος; - futuris (September 2021).