A Baby Picture of the Sun

Eagle Nebula. Image credit: Hubble/ChandraObviously there’s no way to see what our Sun looked like when it was still forming billions of years ago, but you can do the next best thing. Find a newly forming star with very similar mass and chemical constituents, and see how it’s starting out.

Astronomers have identified a newly forming star in the nearby Eagle nebula (that’s the nebula where the famous Pillars of Creation can be found) located about 7,000 light years from Earth. The object – dubbed E42 – is at the earliest stage of formation for a sunlike star that astronomers have ever found.

Our Sun was thought to form in a nebula very similar to the Eagle Nebula. The cloud of gas and dust collapsed about 5 billion years ago through ultraviolet pressure from nearby stars, as well as passing shockwaves from nearby supernova explosions.

So let’s sit back, and watch this baby star for another 5 billions years or so. They grow up so fast.

Original Source: University of Colorado at Boulder News Release

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