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March 08, 2011

Massive Stars Form Alone

This article explained how massive stars actually have a major impact on environments that surround them. These stars also have very powerful stellar winds; so powerful, in fact, that they stop “any other star formation that might happen in the area.” Another really cool thing the article explained about the stars is that after they die they form elements that are needed for life, and the terrestrial planets specifically. These qualities are all very interesting since this is basically what this whole section of the course is about. After explaining the qualities of these massive stars, the article goes into the current debate of their formation. One theory states that they formed in “massive clusters with lots of lower mass stars”, and the second theory suggests that they may be able to form alone, maybe with the help of a few nearby stars. Graduate students ran experiments to test these theories and ultimately found the second to be true in their experiments.


Posted by ninagav at March 8, 2011 09:51 AM


On a smaller scale, this reminds me of how large planets like Jupiter can affect its surroundings. For example, it's easy to take for granted the fact that the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter could have instead undergone accretion and formed into another planet, just like these massive stars can prevent other nearby star systems from forming. Although Jupiter doesn't have solar wind, its tidal forces affect the environments of nearby moons like Io which is geologically active due to the constant stretching from tidal forces. Although massive stars in other galaxies aren't the same as massive planets in our solar system, it's interesting how physics concepts can be shared between galaxies.

Posted by: brdoss at March 9, 2011 11:15 AM

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