Obstacle to new star formation detected

Obstacle to new star formation detected
Obstacle to new star formation detected

The clouds of gas and dust in space, called the cradles of stars, often remain empty, contrary to expectations. But scientists have figured out why new stars do not form in them: it's all about the collision of gases at too high speeds.

Spiral galaxy NGC 1300 is one of the most beautiful galaxy observed by man, but very few stars are born in its clouds of gas and dust, despite the fact that there is plenty of raw materials for this.

New computer simulations have been able to explain the paradox seen in several other galaxies. The gas clouds collide at such high speeds that it prevents the formation of new stars. That is, high-speed collisions of gas clouds could interfere with the birth of stars immediately after the Big Bang. And this mystery of the early Universe has long haunted astrophysicists.

Located about 68 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Eridani, NGC 1300 resembles an inverse S with blue outer spiral arms and a yellow-orange stripe running through the center of the galaxy. These colors indicate that gas and dust are forming new stars in the arms, but there are very few or no stars in a strip stretching 50,000 light-years across the center of the galaxy.

To understand why the yellow-orange strip of galaxy NGC 1300, composed of dust and gas, does not have the expected number of new stars, the researchers modeled the orbit of gas clouds around the center of the galaxy. It turned out that the gravitational attraction of the stars causes the clouds to collide.

“We think the cloud collision rate is very high,” says astrophysicist Yusuke Fujimoto of the Carnegie Institute of Science in Washington DC. Scientists have calculated that the clouds are colliding at speeds exceeding "normal" by about 10 kilometers per second. High-speed collisions cause turbulence in the clouds so intense that it simply prevents stars from forming.

Fujimoto and his colleagues also speculate that high-speed collisions of gas clouds interfered with the creation of stars immediately after the Big Bang, when the universe was not so large and cramped. Star formation peaked only a few billion years after the birth of the universe.

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