As though in preparation for summer festivities, the Hubble Space Telescope captured this cosmic fireworks show from Eta Carinae. This is how you might describe this double star system located 7500 light-years away in the constellation Carina (The Ship's Keel).
One new theory about the binary star system is that originally it had three stars and the Great Eruption occurred when the biggest star ate one of the other stars, resulting in a mass ten times that of our sun firing off into the stratosphere. Astronomers have used nearly every instrument on Hubble over the past 25 years to study the rambunctious star. Most recently, astronomers used its Wide Field Camera 3 to map the ultraviolet light glow of magnesium embedded in warm gas, and found the gas in places where it had not been before.
This second ring of sizzling gas exists the gain there must peaceable be an empty swath of enviornment; its unexpected presence shows that the Good Eruption would perhaps perchance also simply accumulate been even increased than previously believed, acknowledged Nathan Smith, an astronomer at Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona.
This newly discovered gas may have been ejected from the star right before it expelled the bipolar lobes on either of its sides, and is therefore crucial in understanding how the star's eruption began, according to a statement by NASA.
"This additional subject fabric is snappy, and it "united states of americathe ante" by design of the total energy for an already highly efficient stellar blast", Smith acknowledged in a NASA assertion.
The two stars clock in at 90 and 30 times the mass of the Sun and according to the same online publication, it's no wonder that the pair's death throes are mind-blowing - and they've been ongoing for about 200 years. "The pattern of light and shadow is reminiscent of sunbeams that we see in our atmosphere when sunlight streams past the edge of a cloud, though the physical mechanism creating Eta Carinae's light is different", noted team member Jon Morse of BoldlyGo Institute in NY.
The astronomer said magnesium emissions in Eta Carinae may help uncover "previously hidden" gas in other stellar objects. "Only Hubble can take these kinds of pictures". In this scenario, the most massive member would have swallowed one of the stars, igniting the massive Great Eruption of the mid-1800s. Some of the light from the eruption took an indirect path to Earth and is just arriving now. This may already have happened, but the tsunami of light from such a blinding blast would take 7500 years to reach Earth.
The Hubble space telescope is still orbiting and looking at the incredible events that are happening in the universe around us. It's become a favorite target of Hubble scientists for over two decades.