X-rays From a Newborn Star Hint at Our Sun’s Earliest Days
June 20, 2020
Global Korean Post
By detecting an X-ray flare from a very young star using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, researchers have reset the timeline for when stars like the Sun start blasting high-energy radiation into space, as reported in our latest press release. This is significant because it may help answer some questions about our Sun’s earliest days as well as some about the Solar System today.
This artist’s illustration depicts the object where astronomers discovered the X-ray flare. HOPS 383 is called a young “protostar” because it is in the earliest phase of stellar evolution that occurs right after a large cloud of gas and dust has started to collapse. Once it has matured HOPS 383, which is located about 1,400 light years from Earth, will have a mass about half that of the Sun.
The illustration shows HOPS 383 surrounded by a donut-shaped cocoon of material (dark brown) — containing about half of the protostar’s mass — that is falling in towards the central star. Much of the light from the infant star in HOPS 383 is unable to pierce through this cocoon, but X-rays from the flare (blue) are powerful enough to do so. Infrared light emitted by HOPS 383 is scattered off the inside of the cocoon (white and yellow). A version of the illustration with a region of the cocoon cut out shows the bright X-ray flare from HOPS 383 and a disk of material falling towards the protostar.