Research ArticleASTROPHYSICS

Laboratory unraveling of matter accretion in young stars

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Science Advances  01 Nov 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 11, e1700982
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700982

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Accretion dynamics in the formation of young stars is still a matter of debate because of limitations in observations and modeling. Through scaled laboratory experiments of collimated plasma accretion onto a solid in the presence of a magnetic field, we open a first window on this phenomenon by tracking, with spatial and temporal resolution, the dynamics of the system and simultaneously measuring multiband emissions. We observe in these experiments that matter, upon impact, is ejected laterally from the solid surface and then refocused by the magnetic field toward the incoming stream. This ejected matter forms a plasma shell that envelops the shocked core, reducing escaped x-ray emission. This finding demonstrates one possible structure reconciling current discrepancies between mass accretion rates derived from x-ray and optical observations, respectively.

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