Monday, April 23, 2012

Peculiar star - Eta Carinae

Eta Carinae Chandra X-Ray image
Credit: Chandra Science Center and NASA.(ref)

Chandra has revealed unexpected structures around the nova at the center of Eta Carina. The colors are artificial to help the viewer sort out details and structure.

The new X-ray observation shows three distinct structures:

  • an outer, horseshoe-shaped ring about 2 light years in diameter, 
  • a hot inner core about 3 light-months in diameter 
  • a hot central source less than 1 light-month in diameter which may contain the superstar that drives the whole show. 

The outer ring provides evidence of another large explosion that occurred over 1,000 years ago.

For a detailed article on this photo at Science@NASA see
Dr. John M. Horack, Chandra Takes X-ray Image of Repeat Offender Image of Eta Carina reveals shocking details of mysterious star. (url)

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