Recent observations by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have revealed astonishing pictures of tiny crystals of a green mineral called olivine which are falling down as rain on a burgeoning star. This has been the first time that such observations have been made in the dusty clouds of gas that collapse around forming stars.
Although the phenomenon has puzzled astronomers and debates have started on how the crystals got there, some are speculating that it is possibly due to the blasting of jets of gas from the embryonic stars.
You need temperatures as hot as lava to make these crystals. We propose that the crystals were cooked up near the surface of the forming star, and then carried up into the surrounding cloud where temperatures are much colder, and ultimately fell down again like glitter, stated Tom Megeath of the University of Toledo in Ohio.
The crystal drops have been spotted in the constellation Orion around a distant sun-like embryonic star referred to as HOPS-68. Findings might help solve certain important questions that have always revolved around the formation and structure of comets.
It will help answer why comets, which form in the frigid outskirts of our solar system, contain the same type of crystals. The crystals which were found were in the form of forsterite. They belong to the olivine family of silicate minerals and can be found everywhere from a periodot gemstone to the green sand beaches of Hawaii to remote galaxies.
Forsterite crystals were spotted before in the swirling, planet-forming disks that surround young stars. The discovery of the crystals in the outer collapsing cloud of a proto-star is surprising because of the cloud's colder temperatures, about minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 170 degrees Celsius). This led the team of astronomers to speculate the jets may in fact be transporting the cooked-up crystals to the chilly outer cloud.