Friday, January 19, 2018

Gigantic Stars May Be More Abundant in the Universe Than Previously Thought

Image: The Tarantula Nebula via NASA, ESA, & F. Paresce (INAF-IASF), R. O'Connell (U. Virginia), & the HST WFC3 Science Oversight Committee
Image: The Tarantula Nebula via NASA, ESA, & F. Paresce (INAF-IASF), R. O'Connell (U. Virginia), & the HST WFC3 Science Oversight Committee
 A new study by an international group of astronomers suggests that massive stars up to hundreds of times the mass of the sun may be much more common than previously thought. These findings further suggest that black holes and other remnants of dead massive stars may be more common than previously thought.
 The scientists used data collected from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile to analyze the masses and ages of approximately 800 massive stars in the Tarantula Nebula. This area, known as 30 Doradus or 30 Dor, is the largest star-forming region in the nearby universe that astronomers can observe with detail.
 The researchers found that stars greater than 30 solar masses in size were born in the nebula 30 percent more of the time than predicted by long-standing models of star formation. The researchers suggested that such a discrepancy might exist between past predictions due to previous research focusing mainly on smaller stars.
 If massive stars do make up more of the universe than previously thought, there could be a wide range of consequences including supernova explosions happening 70 percent more often than previously thought. Black holes would also be forming 180 percent faster than before and supernovas would be giving off three times as many elements as previously predicted.

Read more about this fascinating story at: https://www.space.com/39282-heavyweight-stars-more-common-than-thought.html


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