01/07/2014 2:00 pm
Herschel image: ESA/Herschel/Ph. André, D. Polychroni, A. Roy, V. Könyves, N. Schneider for the Gould Belt survey Key Programme; inset and layout: ESA/ATG medialab
Orion A, a star-forming nebula lying about 1500 light-years from Earth, as viewed by ESA’s Herschel space observatory. Orion A is located within the ‘sword of Orion’ – below the three main stars that form the belt of the Orion constellation.
Embedded in the gaseous and dusty environment of this molecular cloud is the prolific stellar nursery called OMC2 FIR4 (highlighted with a red circle).
Astronomers studying OMC2 FIR4 with Herschel have discovered that at least one of the embryo stars that are taking shape in this protostellar cocoon is gusting a powerful wind of very energetic particles.
The inset shows an illustration of the wind blown by this newborn star. When the energetic particles hit the surrounding material, they may collide with atoms that are present in the star's environment, break them apart and produce new elements.
Our Sun likely gusted a similar wind of particles in its early days; this could explain the origin of a puzzling isotope of beryllium, whose traces are found in meteorites.
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