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What’s Going On With The Rarest Stars In The Universe?

14 Mar 2018, 14:01 UTC
What’s Going On With The Rarest Stars In The Universe?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The extremely high-excitation nebula shown here is powered by an extremely rare binary star system: a Wolf-Rayet star orbiting an O-star. The stellar winds coming off of the central Wolf-Rayet member are between 10,000,000 and 1,000,000,000 times as powerful as our solar wind, and illuminated at a temperature of 120,000 degrees. (The green supernova remnant off-center is unrelated.) Systems like this are estimated, at most, to represent 0.00003% of the stars in the Universe. (ESO)Most stars obey very similar rules, making them almost entirely predictable. But then, there are the weirdos. Catch this live-blog event to learn more.When we look out at the Universe with our most powerful telescopes, we often think about distant galaxies at the astrophysical limits of what we can perceive. In each one, on average, are hundreds of billions of stars, each with their own one-of-a-kind history. But if we want to learn about what stars are out there, we have to look close by. Only in our own relatively nearby cosmic backyard, in the Milky Way and other galaxies no more than a few million light years away, can we resolve individual stars in detail. Thanks to tremendous surveys like Hipparcos, Pan-STARRS and the ongoing ...

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