These are some of the youngest stars ever seen
These brilliant multicolored images are showing us some of the youngest stars ever seen. Thanks to the European Space Agency’s Herschel telescope, researchers were able to detect this group of 15 protostars in
the Orion constellation.
This new discovery is especially exciting because we rarely see any protostars at all, let alone so many at once. The scientists also hope that this discovery will get us that much closer to understanding how stars are born.
Normally seeing a protostar is extremely difficult because they burn so cold that we can’t observe them though the thick clouds of gas and dust in space. Herschel, however, was able to see these stars using far-infrared light. Researchers also used the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile to verify Herschel’s findings with radio wave observations.
The scientists are already developing new star-birthing models with this new information including one that theorizes the youngest stars spend perhaps 25,000 years in this protostar phase. To put that in perspective, NASA says our own sun is rated for a lifespan of about 10 billion years.
"With these recent findings, we add an important missing photo to the family album of stellar development," said Glenn Wahlgren, Herschel Program Scientist, in a release. "Herschel has allowed us to study stars in their infancy."