March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination

DISCOVERY OF AN EXTRAGALACTIC ACCRETION DISC

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TAG: GS 3: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

THE CONTEXT: Scientists have made a groundbreaking observation—an accretion disc of gas spinning around a star, marking the first time such a phenomenon has been detected outside our own Milky Way galaxy.

EXPLANATION:

  • Despite being common during the formation of stars and their planetary systems, this discovery in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a dwarf galaxy located about 179,000 light-years away, challenges previous assumptions about the universality of star formation processes.

Significance of the Observation

  • The detection of an accretion disc in the LMC signifies the potential universality of our understanding of star formation processes.
  • This remarkable finding broadens our knowledge of these mechanisms beyond the confines of our own galaxy, suggesting that similar cosmic phenomena exist throughout the Universe.
  • Astronomers involved in the discovery expressed astonishment at identifying the first extragalactic accretion disc.
  • A researcher explained the phenomenon’s detection based on shifts in the emitted light’s frequency, drawing parallels to the change in sound frequency of an ambulance siren passing by.
  • This mechanism helped astronomers discern the rotation of gas around the distant star in the LMC.

Understanding Star Formation

  • Stars typically form in molecular gas and dust-rich regions of space. Dense clumps of gas gravitationally attract each other, leading to collapse and initiating the star formation process.
  • As the protostar forms, it gathers material from its surroundings in an orderly manner, akin to water flowing down a drain.
  • During this phase, a disc of gas becomes visible, revolving around the nascent star.
  • Upon completion of the star’s formation, residual material continues to orbit the star.
  • However, this material begins to contribute to the formation of planetary systems, including planets, asteroids, comets, and other celestial bodies.

Conclusion: Expanding Knowledge of Cosmic Phenomena

  • The discovery of an accretion disc around a star in the LMC not only showcases the advancement in observational astronomy but also offers valuable insights into the consistency of star formation processes across galaxies.
  • This significant finding extends our understanding of cosmic mechanisms and underscores the potential uniformity of fundamental astrophysical phenomena throughout the vast expanse of the Universe.

SOURCE: https://www.wionews.com/science/disc-of-gas-whirling-around-star-found-for-the-first-time-in-another-galaxy-666217

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