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Astronomers observe protostar before it has started fusion reactions

from Ars Technica

Stars form through the agglomeration of mass from surrounding gas clouds. As mass comes together from gas clouds, it heats up, emitting infrared radiation and sometimes forming planets. At a critical point of mass density and temperature, self-sustaining nuclear fusion reactions are triggered. Protostars are structures that are before this point in their development. Astronomers have recently discovered the youngest protostar ever observed. Relying on 13CO rotational spectrum, the observations fit the agglomeration-thermal emission theory of star formation. But almost none of the mass in the protostar's surrounding envelope has been transformed into what will eventually be the star and its planets. This new observation, reported in Nature, gives a glimpse therefore into the common question of "how do the stars and planets form?" more


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