Even though stars are all bright and beautiful, there’s no need to be an astronomer to know very well what would happen if you get too close to those cosmic objects. Deadly beauty won’t hesitate to do its merciless thing if you don’t play by the rules.
Despite all its shortcomings, such as war, disease, poverty, corruption, or natural disasters, our planet is still a very safe place by comparison with the Universe, in general. Our Cosmos is far from being all sugar, spice, and everything nice. Outer space is teeming with destructive forces out there that would make the Chicxulub impactor that killed the dinosaurs look like nothing. We can mention here black holes, quasars, gamma-ray bursts, and many more.
Unfortunately or not, not many people think about stars as destructive cosmic objects. They tend to be too fascinated about their beauty and their ability to provide heat, light, and some level of comfort for the orbiting planets. But stars definitely also have a dark side, and it’s time to take that unpleasant aspect into account a little more.
Young stars grow by engulfing material during frequent feeding frenzies
According to a new study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, young stars devour cosmic material eagerly during feeding frenzies so that they can expand their volume.
If you’re wondering what exactly young stars are since ‘mature’ celestial bodies usually have lifespans of billions of years, there is a simple answer. The study refers to stars that are younger than 100,000 years old. This age is the cosmic equivalent of an infant who is only 7 hours old.
The stars in question are also classified as “class 0 protostars,” and using a ground-based telescope to observe and analyze them is very difficult for astronomers. The reason is because such stars are usually hidden from sight and placed inside the nebulae that give birth to them.
How ‘infant stars’ swallow material
Don’t worry, as stars weren’t discovered to behave as black holes, at least not yet. The Universe has been proven to be capable of creating pretty much anything, however, such as bringing creatures like us to life who are capable of asking what exactly the Universe is in the first place.
Young growing stars engulf material from the surrounding disk of gas and dust. Each and every star in the Universe has been born from such a disk, including our Sun.
Thanks to the infrared capabilities of the Spitzer telescope, which has been out of service since 2020, it was made possible for astronomers to observe the young stars despite having thick layers of dust and gas in between.
Tom Megeath, an astronomer from the University of Toledo and also one of the new study’s co-authors, explained, as the official website of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory quotes:
The Sun is a bit bigger than most stars, but there’s no reason to think that it didn’t undergo bursts,
It probably did. When we witness the process of star formation, it is a window into what our own solar system was doing 4.6 billion years ago.
Astronomers are now optimistic that due to the new findings, they can learn more about stars formation and how they accumulate mass.
The same scientist said, as the same source mentioned above quotes:
The disks around them are all raw material for planet formation,
Bursts can actually influence that material.
Scientists generally believe that our Solar System is roughly 4.6 billion years old. That means that it was born when our Universe was roughly 9.1 billion years old.
One fascinating aspect of the Solar System is that over 99.9% of its mass is represented by the Sun.