Stars Produce Heavy Elements, New Observation Confirms

By Rodney Rafols , Dec 01, 2016 11:04 PM EST
Stars are made up of gases and dust. Regularly stars are said to produce heavy elements also, as a new observation confirms. (Photo : CrashCourse/YouTube)

Stars have been the product of many gases. Stars are born that way, and when they die they give back those same gases that would be used to create new stars. Stars though also produce heavy elements, which a new observation confirms.

A team of astronomers from UCLA have observed that stars could produce dust on a wide scale. Dust is important, as later on they would be used to create planets. This observation has been made by Jean Turner, a Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Physics at UCLA together with S. Michelle Consiglio, a graduate student. Two others were involved in the study as well.

The researchers have chosen a galaxy called II Zw 40, which is around 33 million light years away. The galaxy has been chosen since it has been observed to be creating stars actively. This made it a perfect galaxy to study and test out the theory. Images of II Zw 40 have been used in the study. The ALMA telescope in Chile has been the one used to obtain the images.

Using the ALMA telescope, Consiglio and her colleagues set out to observe the central region of II Zw 40, according to the UCLA Newsroom. The central region has two clusters of stars, with each cluster containing about a million stars each. Through observations, the study has affirmed that the location of dust in the galaxy has been largely concentrated in the central region.

Astronomical dust is very much in the universe. Carbon, silicon and oxygen are mainly there along with the dust. The center of the Milky Way itself is blocked by dust surrounding it. In the case of II Zw 40, the dust is located about 320 light years from the star clusters.

It has long been theorized that stars continually spew out dust, as Phys Org reports. These elements come from the interior of stars, and they also enrich the surrounding space and the galaxies they are in with elements heavier than helium or hydrogen. Turner noted that this has not been seen before, and there is no current astronomical data that could support the theory.

In the galaxy I Zw 40, it is very obvious where the dust is coming from since the galaxy has a large number of young stars, as the researchers have stated. With the results that they have, the team is eager to look into other galaxies and clusters. As has been seen, stars produce heavy elements, as a new observation confirms. Also it has been observed earlier that young stellar objects are forming multiple systems.

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