NEW DELHI: Astronomers have identified a circumstellar disk around a star that surpasses the size and luminosity of the sun. This phenomenon, where a dense clump of interstellar gas and dust collapses under its own gravitational force, marks the birth of stars.
The residual material forms a swirling disk around the nascent star, contributing to its growth and potentially giving rise to planets.Remarkably, such newborn stars with circumstellar disks were previously observed exclusively within our Milky Way galaxy.
However, researchers have now extended this observation to a star in the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of our closest neighbouring galaxies. The finding opens new avenues for understanding stellar formation and planetary systems beyond our galactic borders.
In a celestial spectacle unfolding 160,000 light years away, astronomers have observed a star in the process of formation. This star, which is 10 to 20 times more massive than the sun and radiates about 10,000 times more luminosity, is actively accreting material from its surrounding disk.
As gravitational forces draw material towards the developing star, it takes the form of a spinning disk. The recently discovered disk boasts a diameter approximately 12,000 times the distance from the Earth to the sun. This dimension is notably larger than the disk that encircled our sun during its own formation approximately 4.5 billion years ago.
Additionally, the star is not only in the midst of gathering material but is also emitting a substantial jet of material into space. This captivating celestial display is unfolding at an astounding distance of 160,000 light years from Earth. For context, a light year represents the distance light travels in a year, amounting to 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).
“This is very exciting,” said astronomer Anna McLeod of Durham University in England, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature.
“While we know of many stars like this one being formed in the Large Magellanic Cloud and other galaxies, we have never before observed a circumstellar accretions disk outside of the Milky Way, mainly due to lack of technology. Observing these disks in other galaxies is very important because it tells us about how stars form in environments different from that of the Milky Way,” McLeod added.

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