Family Of Stars Torn Apart In Orion Nebula

First Posted: Mar 20, 2017 06:20 AM EDT

Divorce rate in the United States is unusually high. Up to 50 percent of marriages end up in divorce. While sad, broken families on Earth have been far too common, something far worse also happens for a family of stars to tear apart in the cosmos.

Universe Today reported that a constellation of stars in the Orion Nebula broke apart. Observations showed that two of the stars in the family went off to travel in opposite directions and in very high speeds -- speeds that are higher than stars normally do. This puzzled scientists and led them to study the broken star family closer.

By retracing the positions of both the stars back to 540 years ago, they seemed to appear to be speeding in the same location. This meant that they were part of a star system that somehow broken up, although the combined energy to make them do so did not add up.

Nonetheless, a new clue from the Hubble telescope found that a third runaway star is part of the equation. Tracing back to the same 540-year timeline, it was noted that the third star originated from the same location as the other two. It is near the center of the Orion Nebula, known as the Kleinmann-Low Nebula, around 1,300 light-years away.

According to The Marshall Town, all three stars moved extremely fast out of their original places in the Kleinmann-Low Nebula, up to 30 times the speed of most stars. Kevin Luhman from Penn State University shared that the new observations from Hubble provided evidence that all three stars were ejected from a multiple-star system. It is likely due to the gravitational fluctuations common in high-population areas of newly born stars. Two of them came very close together, forming a binary system, which threw off the gravitational parameters set by the system that therefore caused the ejection of other stars.

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