The Hawaii-based James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) has discovered a starlight 10 billion times more powerful than the sun's sunlight, a story-finding discovery that could unlock decades-old questions about the origin of our own sun and planets. insight into how these celestial bodies were born.
"A discovery of this magnitude could only have happened in Hawaii," said Dr. Steve Mairs, astronomer and senior investigator of the team who discovered the star's flare. "Using the JCMT, we study the birth of nearby stars as a means of understanding the story of our very own solar system. Observation of glare around the youngest stars is new territory, and it gives us key insights into the physical conditions of these systems. This is one of the ways we work to answer people's most persistent questions about space, time, and the universe that surrounds us. "
JCMT Transient Survey Team recorded the 1500-year-old flare using the telescope's state-of-the-art high-frequency radio technology and sophisticated image analysis techniques. Identified by astronomer Dr. Steve Mairs, the original data was obtained using the JCMT's supercooled camera known as "SCUBA-2", which is kept at a freckle -459.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Flare is believed to be due to a disturbance in an intense magnetic field that actively draws material on a young, growing star, as it gets mass from the surroundings. The event took place in one of the nearest star-forming regions to the earth, the Orion Nebula. It only lasted a matter of hours.
Located near the Maunakea Summit, the JCMT is the largest and only Northern Hemisphere telescope capable of making this type of discovery. Stellar flare observation was made as part of a monthly tracking program by scientists from around the world using JCMT to observe nearly 1,000 nearby stars in the earliest stages of their formation.
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Steve Mairs et al. The JCMT Transient Survey: An Extraordinary Submillimeter Flare in the T Tauri Binary System JW 566, The astrophysical journal (2019). DOI: 10.3847 / 1538-4357 / aaf3b1