Scientists reveal the secrets of the star FU Orionis

Astronomers observe the young and mysterious star FU Orionis. For unknown reasons, almost a hundred years ago, it first increased its brightness, and then faded out. Recent research has helped to examine the details of this process.

FU Orionis star. Source:

Mysterious FU Orionis star

Scientists working with the ALMA antenna array in Chile have published an article that solved some of the riddles of the mysterious star FU Orionis. It attracted the attention of scientists in 1936, when it quickly increased its brightness by 1000 times and slowly decreased it over the next decades.

Flaring stars will not surprise scientists. They are usually very old luminaries living out their last days. But FU Orionis is young, big and hot. 

The situation was further complicated by the fact that such objects, called FUor, are extremely rare. Over several decades, only a few have been discovered. Therefore, scientists still have a very bad idea of how they function.

New research

It is now considered proven that FU Orionis are giant stars just finishing their formation. Near them are the remains of the gas-dust nebulae from which they were formed. Accretion disks form around these luminaries. As a result of some processes, the material from them begins to actively fall on the star, as a result of which it increases its brightness.

The ALMA radio telescope has been studying FU Orionis since 2012, and during this time scientists have repeatedly reported interim results of these studies. The new publication says that now the flow of matter that falls on the star is extremely thin. It mainly consists of carbon monoxide.

The intrigue lies in the fact that the current gas flow is not capable of leading to the consequences that have been observed since 1936. However, scientists believe that it is only a shadow of a large-scale structure that fell on the star several decades ago. However, this assumption still needs to be clarified.

According to

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