This is surprising because until now, scientists thought that other processes, such as exploding stars called supernovae, were largely responsible for regulating the formation of stars.
But NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)'s observations suggest that infant stars generate stellar winds that can blow away the seed material required to form new stars, a process called feedback.
"It disrupts the natal cloud and prevents the birth of new stars."
At the heart of the nebula lies a small grouping of young, massive and luminous stars.
Observations from SOFIA's instrument the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT) revealed that the strong stellar wind from the brightest of these baby stars, designated as Theta1 Orionis C, has swept up a large shell of material from the cloud where this star formed, like a snow plow clearing a street by pushing snow to the road's edges.
At the centre of the Orion Nebula, the stellar wind from Theta1 Orionis C forms a bubble and disrupts star birth in its neighbourhood. At the same time, it pushes molecular gas to the edges of the bubble, creating new regions of dense material where future stars might form.
These feedback effects regulate the physical conditions of the nebula, influence the star formation activity and ultimately drive the evolution of the interstellar medium -- the space between stars filled with gas and dust.
"Understanding how star formation interacts with the interstellar medium is key to understanding the origins of the stars we see today, and those that may form in the future," the researchers said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)