Space explorers map “3D structure” of Musca cloud

Two astronomers reportedly have identified the Musca cloud’s 3D structure for the first time ever. This discovery may help in generating more clues regarding the formation of the stars.

The science behind the evolution of the stars is even responsible for designing the shape of the clouds. However, scientists even using the most powerful telescopes were only able to see the 2D projection of the clouds. The research revealed that Musca, the molecular singing cloud evolves as a pancake and not as a needle, which was previously claimed. With the discovery of the real shape of the Musca cloud, the space explorers were even capable of studying as to how the forces operated on the Musca for the cloud to undertake the formation of the stars.

The Musca cloud is located around five hundred light-years ahead of the Earth, in the Southern Hemisphere. This is the reason behind as to why mapping the shape of the cloud was a tuff challenge for the scientists. In accordance with the study, the 3D structure of the interstellar clouds and all the other astronomical bodies could be seen only via 2D projections.

The space scientists selected the Musca cloud to perform their study as its vibration (known as its song) could not get affected by the other noises being generated by the proximate bodies.

The senior author, Konstantinos Tassis, who is an astrophysicist at the University of Crete and Aris Tritsis who is the study’s lead author from the same University, successfully created the complete 3D construction of the Musca cloud by witnessing thoroughly the translucent impressions or its striations as it moved. These impressions were created at the time when “longitudinal magnetic pressure waves or fast magnetosonic waves” were exercised.

The researchers found the Musca cloud to be vibrating in a similar way as that of a ringing bell when it is struck. The study authors wrote that they found the Musca cloud to be globally vibrating with the “characteristic modes of a sheet viewed edge on and not with the characteristics of a filament” as it was earlier claimed to be. The finding of the study was featured in the Science journal.

With this discovery of the real shape of the Musca cloud, the space explorers also got to know that the cloud’s density was actually lower than it was previously thought to be. This knowledge infers that the stars which get evolved by the Musca cloud possess a distinct composition.

According to Konstantinos Tassis, the clouds that are denser are actually formed of “nitrogen-based molecules” like that of ammonia. The author also revealed that the clouds having lower density tend to produce stars at the lower rate in comparison to the rate of star production by the denser clouds.

About the author

Nandeesh Singhal

A dynamic professional with an experience in sales, business development, client acquisition, client retention in Water Treatment Industry. An engineer by degree, a marketer by heart. He co-founded TeCake in 2014 and serving the company as Associate Editor.

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