Image of the ESA/PACS & SPIRE consortium, courtesy Alana Rivera-Ingraham and Peter Martin; click to see the interactive version.
How to build a really, really big star
Stars 10 times as massive as the Sun, or more, should not exist: as they grow, they tend to push away the gas they feed on, starving their own growth. Scientists have been struggling to figure out how some stars overcome this hurdle.
Now, a group of researchers led by two astronomers at the University of Toronto suggests that baby stars may grow to great mass if they happen to be born within a corral of older stars –with these surrounding stars favorably arranged to confine and feed gas to the younger ones in their midst.
The astronomers have seen hints of this collective feeding, known as “convergent constructive feedback,” in a giant cloud of gas and dust called Westerhout 3 (W3), located 6,500 light years from us. Their results are published in April in The Astrophysical Journal.