Heavy stars do not feed on the disk of dust but rather on “chaos”.

Photo: ALMA photo of the messy mess surrounding the mega-young superstar W51e2e. Gray is a dust close to the star. Red and blue are a substance that quickly moves away from the star in “planes”. (Goddi, Ginsburg, et al., Sophia Dagnello, NRAO / AUI / NSF)

This is evidenced by observations by Dutch astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter / Sub-Millimeter Array (ALMA), whose results were recently published in The Astrophysical Journal Has been published.

It is well known how young stars are formed. They extract the material from the gas and dust disk in a relatively organized manner. Astronomers have already seen many of these dust disks, but never seen massive young stars. So the question was whether large stars form in the same way as small stars.

“Our observations have now provided convincing evidence that the answer is no,” says Ciriaco Goddi, associated with Radboud Nijmegen University and the ALMA Allegro Experience Center at Leiden University.


Goddie led a team that studied three very young stars in the W51 star-forming region about 17,000 light-years from Earth. The researchers specifically looked for large, stable disks with jets of material moving externally, perpendicular to the plane of the disc. These disks should be visible to the high resolution of ALMA telescopes.

But instead of hard disks, observations showed that tufts of gas hit the massive young stars from all directions. In addition, the researchers saw so-called jets that indicate the possibility of small discs invisible to the telescope. Moreover, the disk of one of the three studied stars appears to have been turned upside down about a hundred years ago. In short: chaos.

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Astronomers have concluded that these massive young stars, at least in their early years, are fed by material flowing from all directions at irregular velocities – unlike smaller stars, where there is a steady flow of material. They believe this is likely the reason why large, stable drives cannot be created.

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