Deep Chandra observation of the Orion Nebula Cluster
Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn State/E.Feigelson & K.Getman et al.

Condition While Young

Young stars have disks. In some stars the disk is believed to spawn planets. But it's not clear how disks turn themselves into planets. Some astronomers believe that X-ray flares from the young star could play an important role in conditioning the protoplanetary disk. Strong flares could in theory make the disk more turbulent, stirring things up and helping small dense regions grow to eventually become planets. A deep observation with the Chandra X-ray Observatory has provided new evidence to constrain these types of planet forming models. The image above shows the results of a 13-day X-ray observation by Chandra of a young star forming region called the Orion Nebula Cluster. In this observations astronomers were able to detect the X-ray brightness of even very faint stars, and because of the uninterrupted view of the field, they could study how often the young stars flare. The Chandra data show that these young stars are much more violently active than more mature stars.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:27:17 EDT