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Gas spheres from star puzzle astronomers
Posted: Thu, May 17, 2001, 10:04 AM ET (1404 GMT)
Illustration of sphere around young star (NRAO) Astronomers reported Wednesday that a young star is ejecting spheres of gas in a manner not predicted by any model of star formation. Data collected by the Very Large Baseline Array (VLBA), a network of radio telescopes extending across North America, show that a young star 2,000 light-years away is surrounded by a sphere of gas 50% larger than the Solar System that is expanding outward at over 30,000 kmph. The VLBA data also shows signs of an older sphere of gas that is being overtaken by a younger, faster-moving one. While models of stellar formation predict that young stars will eject mass, those models predict the mass will be ejected in twin jets from the poles of the star, not in the spheres seen in the VLBA data. "We don't yet understand how this can happen, so we have an exciting new scientific challenge," said Spanish astronomer Guillem Anglada. The observations were published in the May 17 issue of the journal Nature.
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