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Unveiling Triggered Star Formation in the Orion Nebulae Using the Nobeyama Millimeter Interferometer

Stars are born when gravity pulls together gas material from the surrounding medium. The newly born star, however, needs to get rid of some of the accumulated gas, and this is a process called “outflow”.

Gas eject via outflows move at tremendously fast speeds, immensely influencing the environment of the surrounding space. One of the outcomes of this phenomenon is the creation of yet more stars, and understanding the exact mechanism of this “triggered” star formation is one of the important goals of astronomy today.

An international team led by Yoshito Shimajiri (University of Tokyo) used the Nobeyama Millimeter Interferometer to investigate triggered star formation in the Orion nebulae. By carefully inspecting the observational data, they found numerous clumps of high-density gas and dust near the tip of the out-flowing gas material, some of which turned out to be in the midst of a massive gas-dust collision.

This important new observational finding is direct evidence for triggered star formation. Because these difficult observations require extremely high telescope power (i.e. angular resolution), only a few observatories in the world can study these objects in detail.

This study is published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan (PASJ), Vol. 61, No. 5, pp. 1055