You are here: Home » News-ANI » Science
Business Standard

How magnetic field influences star formation

ANI  |  Washington 

A new study has provided a deeper insight into how the magnetic field influences star formation on a variety of scales, from hundreds of light-years down to a fraction of a light-year.

Stars form when gravity pulls together material within giant clouds of gas and dust. But gravity isn't the only force at work. Both turbulence and magnetic fields battle gravity, either by stirring things up or by channeling and restricting gas flows, respectively.

The study probed the Cat's Paw Nebula, also known as NGC 6334. This nebula contained about 200,000 suns' worth of material that is coalescing to form new stars, some with up to 30 to 40 times as much mass as our sun. It's located 5,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Scorpius.

Hua-bai Li (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) said that the magnetic field direction was quite well preserved from large to small scales, implying that self-gravity and cloud turbulence were not able to significantly alter the field direction.

The team observed polarized light coming from dust within the nebula using several facilities, including the Smithsonian's Submillimeter Array.

Because dust grains align themselves with the magnetic field, the researchers were able to use dust emission to measure the field's geometry. They found that the magnetic fields tended to line up in the same direction, even though the relative size scales they examined were different by orders of magnitude. The magnetic fields only became misaligned on the smallest scales in cases where strong feedback from newly formed stars created other motions.

This work represents the first time magnetic fields in a single region have been measured at so many different scales. It also has interesting implications for the history of Earth's galaxy.

The study is published in the journal Nature.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Tue, March 31 2015. 11:09 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU