MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: How are X rays produced in the space?

Date: Sat Dec 2 16:27:39 2000
Posted By: Angelle Tanner, Grad student, Astronomy, UCLA
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 975040433.As

The Orion Nebula has always been a very exciting object for study
since there are so many different interactions between stars and 
dust and gas going on there. It is a star forming region which means
stars are being formed and are evolving as we speak and it gives
us a great chance to try to understand how our own Sun formed and

The reason we see X-rays within the Orion nebula is because of the
interaction between the material surrounding many of the young stars and 
their magnetic fields. Since the Orion nebula is a star forming region, it
contains many Young Stellar Objects or YSO's. YSO's come in the form
of protostars and T-Tauri stars where a protostar will eventually
form into a T-Tauri stars. Most X-rays we detect come from the 
T-Tauri stars because protostars are too deeply embedded in gas and
dust for the X-rays to escape. Astronomers are still trying to better
understand the specific processes which produce the X-rays and how
they are related to how the new star formed. There is some evidence
that the X-ray activity is related to the star's rotation as well
as interactions with its newly formed protoplanetary disk (a disk of dust
and gas out of which a solar system could form). The
study of new solar systems around other stars in a new and 
exciting science since it helps us understand how our planets
formed and the odds of there being other Earth-like planets within
our own Galaxy. 

Thanks for the great question!

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