These stunning images of the birth of a star were captured by astronomers over 18 years.
The star – a mammoth 4,200 light-years from Earth – was pictured by a battery of 27 antennae located in the New Mexico desert, which allowed astronomers to watch the unfolding formation of a Massive Star.
Its images were published in the journal Science, showing a 1996 image compared with a 2014 image.
Author of the journal entry Carlos Carrasco-Gonzalez said: “The comparison is remarkable.”
Through the study, scientists have discovered that during its birth the star has episodes in which it ejects a hot, ionised wind for several years.
Wolfgang Steffen, Instituto de Astronomía, UNAM Astronomers have witnessed a key stage in the birth of a very heavy star called W75N(B)-VLA2, using two radio telescope views of the process taken 18 years apart. Pictured – Star in 1996
W75N(B)-VLA2: The star may not have a catchy name, but it could be vital to future research
First, that wind can expand in all directions, forming a spherical shell around the star.
Then the wind hits the dusty torus, which slows it.
The star, which is 300 times brighter than Earth’s Sun, has been given the name W75N(B)-VLA2.
Professor Huib van Langevelde from Leiden University in the Netherlands, who was also involved in penning the journal, said: “This object is providing us an exciting opportunity to watch the developments over the next few years, as this very young star develops the characteristic bipolar outflow morphology.”
Wolfgang Steffen, Instituto de Astronomía, UNAM Astronomers have witnessed a key stage in the birth of a very heavy star called W75N(B)-VLA2, using two radio telescope views of the process taken 18 years apart. Pictured – Star in 2014
2014 image: Astronomers witnessed the key stage in the birth of a very heavy star called W75N(B)-VLA2
The image was assembled using VLBI, standing for ‘very long baseline interferometry’.
Pictures are composed by contrasting signals between separated antennae, with the data used to employ them as a huge teleascope.
Dr Gabriele Surcis, who is working on the study, said: “Our understanding of how massive young stars develop is much less complete than our understanding of how Sun-like stars develop.
“It’s going to be really great to be able to watch one as it changes.”