Utilizing NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope, astronomers have led X-ray investigations and near-infrared imaging of a protostar, dubbed HOPS 383.
The monitoring project spotted a powerful X-ray flare from the protostar. Such a thing could help astronomers to comprehend the first phases of star evolution better. Here are all the details.
A Protostar Proves to Have Intriguing Features
The Class 0 objects are the most ancient accreting protostars, representing the first evolutionary phase of solar-type stars. Because the hydrostatic core in Class 0 protostars is deeply embedded within its molecular cloud and envelope, such cosmic objects are challenging to spot at most wavelengths. So, there are some questions about their nature that remain unanswered.
For example, scientists still debate whether or not magnetic activity exists in Class 0 protostars. X-ray observations could check that. X-rays are a key signature of magnetic activity in more evolved protostars and young stars.
And that’s how a team of astronomers, conducted by Nicolas Grosso from the French National Center for Scientific Research, decided to realize X-ray observations of HOPS 383 – a Class 0 protostar. The protostar intrigued astronomers as it is the first Class 0 protostar identified to have encountered a mass-accretion-driven explosion, which rose by 2008 and ended by 2017.
“We observed HOPS 383 three times with the Chandra X-ray Observatory from December 13 to 14, 2017 with simultaneous near-infrared imaging on December 14, 2017, using the 4.1m Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope,” detailed the team.
The observations resulted in a powerful X-ray flare from HOPS 383 for about 3.3 hours. By examing the development of the eruption, the astronomers discovered that the count rate reached its highest point at almost 0.9 hours, after the first photon detection. Then, it decayed slowly in some 2.5 hours until the final photon detection. Astronomers stated that such quick rise and slow decay is typical for magnetic flares from young stellar objects (YSOs).