3D printing allows astronomers to hold stellar nurseries in their hands for stargazing
Stellar nurseries are made up of molecular clouds of dust and gas where star formation occurs. Astronomers need to study how stars are born to understand the mechanisms behind the universe. Today, an astronomer and artist used 3D printing to allow scientists to hold stellar nurses in their hands.
According to Phys.org, assistant professor of astronomy, Nia Imara of UC Santa Cruz created the resin globes using data acquired from these star-forming regions to reveal features in unprecedented detail that are often invisible in the usual renderings and animations of stellar nurseries.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
This photo from the NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a maelstrom of glowing gas and black dust in one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This stormy scene shows a star nursery known as N159, an HII region over 150 light years in diameter. N159 contains many hot young stars.
3D printed stellar nurseries
Imara, astrophysicist and artist, and her collaborators used a sophisticated 3D printing process to create the resin globes that show small-scale densities and gradients of turbulent clouds of dust and clouds, as described in simulations of star formation regions.
These 3D printed stellar nurseries are highly polished spheres 8 centimeters in diameter. Imara said this interactive object will help astronomers visualize the structures where star formation occurs in order to better understand their physical processes.
Imara told the UC Santa Cruz News Center that she got an idea for a sketch she made a few years ago in which she was holding a star. As a specialist in star formation in molecular clouds, it occurred to her that she could build a 3D model of stellar nurseries using data from simulations of these star formation regions. .
Imara said the 3D printed stellar nurseries are an example of science imitating art. They were both visually striking and scientifically illuminating as astronomers began to notice intricate structures that are often obscured when using usual techniques to view simulations of stellar nurseries.
For example, spheres helped them better see hard-to-see structures in slices or 2D projections. In addition, they reveal features that are more continuous than they appear when presented in 2D projections.
“If you have something winding through space, you might not realize that two regions are connected by the same structure, so having an interactive object that you can rotate in your hand allows us to detect more. easily these continuities, “Imara said in the newspaper. Release.
She described 3D printed stellar nurseries in her study, titled “Touching the Stars: Using High-Resolution 3D Printing to Visualize Stellar Nurseries”, published in Letters from the Astrophysical Journal.
READ ALSO: The stars engulf the planets; Instability of solar systems could help identify sun-like stars harboring Earth-like planets
Star formation in stellar regions
The Orion Nebula is a famous region of the universe where stars are born. According to NASA, the turbulence deep within these clouds of dust and gas gives rise to nodes of sufficient mass to collapse under the effect of gravitational pull. As these clouds collapse, the protostar they contain begins to heat up to one day become a star.
Scientists have previously used 3D computer models to predict that spinning clouds of dust and gas could break down into two or three drops, which is why many stars in the Milky Way are paired or in groups.
But not all pieces of dust and clouds become a star. Some are part of asteroids, planets and comets, or sometimes they stay as clouds of dust.
RELATED ARTICLE: Where the Stars Are Born: NASA’s SOFIA Telescope Captures High-Resolution View of a Star Nursery in the Milky Way
Find more news and information about Stars on Science Times.