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The synchronization of stellar clocks allows us to understand the formation of stars and their propagation

The synchronization of stellar clocks allows us to understand the formation of stars and their propagation

Researchers from the University of Vienna and the Center for Astrobiology (CAB), INTA-CSIC, have discovered a age difference between two of the methods more reliable for measurement star age, The Isochronous traces and dynamicsbased on its movement through the galaxy.

According to their calculations, the age of the dynamic traces is systematically about 5.5 million years lower. This important finding suggests that the “Clock’ the dynamic track Start counting if an excellent partnership begins to expand after Give up your mother cloudMeanwhile he isochronous ‘clock’ begins from the moment of initial star formation.

This information has relevant implications for our understanding of training and that stellar evolution, including the production of Planets and that formation of galaxies. This allows existing models to be tested in order to offer a new one perspective On the chronology of star formation. The article detailing these results was published in Natural astronomy.

The age difference between the two methods provides a new tool for quantifying the earliest stages of stellar life, from the beginning of the formation of the parent cloud to the departure of the “nest” by the “baby stars.”

The Star Age It is a fundamental parameter in astrophysics. However, it is one of the most difficult measures to implement. The best estimates correspond star cluster, i.e. groups of stars of the same age with a common origin. Numerous techniques are used to estimate stellar ages, but they often produce contradictory results.

Scientists wondered whether differences Age between different techniques are due to uncertainties in models and observations or whether this age puzzle could be used to learn something about the process of star formation.

David Barrado, researcher at the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) at CAB, explains: “Determining the age of a cosmic process is a fundamental problem. This work lays very solid foundations for this seek global solutions. He Telescope space of THEPLATO, which will be released at the end of the year 2026will be the key to the complete solution.”

Illustration of the formation of a star cluster. The time when evolution begins and the dynamic clock are displayed. / N. Miret Roig

Núria Miret-RoigFor her part, the first author of this study and researcher at the University of Vienna points out: “Astronomers use isochronous ages As we understand how stars work, these ages depend on the specific model we use.”

The high-quality data from the Gaia satellite, he notes, “enables us to do this Measure age So dynamicregardless of the outstanding models, and we were thrilled be able to synchronize the clocks; that is, testing the different models. “We found a consistent and puzzling difference between the two aging methods.”

According to the scientist, they have reached a point where they can no longer “blame it”. discrepancy To observation error”Therefore, it was most likely that the two clocks “measured two different things.”

Applying this new technique to other young star clusters in the solar environment, where observation accuracy is better, will provide new insights into the process of star formation and dispersion.

This age difference between the two methods “represents one.” new tool and very necessary for Quantification of the earliest stages of the life of a star,” he says Joao Alves, co-author and professor at the University of Vienna. “Allow us Measure how long it takes for baby stars to form to leave the nest,” he adds.

This information is essential for the further development of our company Understanding of life early of stars and the evolution of star clusters.

The researchers analyzed six nearby clusters (More like 500 pieces – depending on the unit of length Parallax of an arcCond-) And teenagers (ages less than 50 million years). They showed that the time beam of Embedding phase is approx 5.5 million yearswith an error of only a million, and could depend on it cumulus mass and the amount of Return message outstanding.

Applying this new technique to other young clusters in the solar environment, where observation accuracy is better, will provide new insights into the process Star formation and dispersion.

According to the authors, this work was possible thanks to the good Astrometry the Gaia special mission in combination with the Radial velocities of the earth (like those in the APOGEE catalog) that allow precise speed measurement three dimensions Track the positions of the stars in time her birthplace.

New and future spectroscopic studies such as WEAVE, 4MOST and SDSS-V will enable this study the entire solar neighborhood.

In the words of Miret-Roig: “Our work paves the way for future research on star formation and provides a clearer picture of how stars and star clusters evolve.” significant step In our quest to understand this Formation of the Milky Way and other galaxies.


Miret-Roig, N. et al. “Insights into the formation and propagation of stars from synchronization”
tion of star clocks”. Natural astronomy (2023)

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