NASA Catches Early Star Growth Action

A star believed to have just begun its development, or star growth, has been caught on camera by one of NASA’s many satellites that orbits our planet. In combination with the use of the best telescopes in the world and a dedicated team of astronomers, it is believed that the protostar is experiencing a “growth spurt.”

The star has been identified as HOPS 383 and as it is still in the beginning stages of star growth–when it becomes a star–and ‘it’ is referred to as a protostar. It appears as though it has experienced a vast and sudden accumulation of gases within a very short period of time, which ultimately caused it to erupt. To understand why this is so significant it is necessary to look at how stars are actually created and formed.

A star is the result of an accumulation of cold gas clouds and collapsing fragments within those clouds. The clouds begin to cave under their own gravitational pull and as this process is occurring, the star growth process itself originates from the middle, causing the center of the mass to become hotter. The idea is that by the end of all of this, the collapsing fragments will have transformed into hot central protostars.

HOPS 383 is expressing the earliest form of star growth that the world has ever seen. It is a very unique and special opportunity to get to study and understand more about how a star is created, formed, and developed. To do this, researchers and astronomers are using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope as it is an extremely accurate way to keep track of the star and to see its changes in size as it grows.

To be able to appreciate the fantastic circumstances surrounding this particular discovery, HOPS 383 is the very first Class 0 protostar to have been seen experiencing growth and change. It is a pivotal moment for astronomers and space researchers as it could very well propel their efforts of exploring and understanding the workings of our galaxy.

A Class 0 protostar refers to the infancy stages of a star and it is from this type of star growth that suns are produced. It is very possible that HOPS 383 could be the beginning of a whole new solar system. An infant sun does not produce light as it is concealed in a very thick cloud of gas and dust. However, it is also out of this thick gas and dust that possible asteroids, and even planets may develop.

When looking at how HOPS 383 got its name and where it is located in relation to our planet Earth, the two are actually quite closely related. This particular star is located in the Orion Belt constellation system and is surrounded by tons of other protostars just like it. The name for this particular protostar originates from its location, Orion, in connection with the Herschel Orion Protostar Survey that was being conducted at the time of its discovery.

In space, there is so much potential to find and see things that go beyond even the wildest of dreams. To see and experience this young star’s development is a great victory in the field of space exploration for all of us here on planet Earth.