Solar-mass stars form via disk-mediated accretion. Recent findings indicate that this process is probably episodic in the form of accretion bursts, possibly caused by disk fragmentation. Although it cannot be ruled out that high-mass young stellar objects arise from the coalescence of their low-mass brethren, the latest results suggest that they more likely form via disks. It follows that disk-mediated accretion bursts should occur. Here we report on the discovery of the first disk-mediated accretion burst from a roughly twenty-solar-mass high-mass young stellar object. Our near-infrared images show the brightening of the central source and its outflow cavities. Near-infrared spectroscopy reveals emission lines typical for accretion bursts in low-mass protostars, but orders of magnitude more luminous. Moreover, the released energy and the inferred mass-accretion rate are also orders of magnitude larger. Our results identify disk-accretion as the common mechanism of star formation across the entire stellar mass spectrum.
- Pub Date:
- March 2017
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- 27 pages, 3 figures. Published in Nature Physics, 2016, Vol. 13, pag. 276