- The Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 31st anniversary in space by showing two new images of an exploding star some 20,000 light-years from Earth
- AG Carina is in the constellation Carina and is one of the brightest stars in the Milky Way.
- It is a bright blue variable star with unpredictable and drastic changes in both brightness and spectra.
- The images were taken in 2020 and 2014 and combined with others taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 in 1994
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope recently celebrated its 31st anniversary in space by comparing two new images of an exploding star some 20,000 light-years from Earth.
Known as AG Carina, this star is in the Carina constellation and is one of the brightest stars in the Milky Way.
It is considered a bright blue variable (LBV) star, with sometimes unpredictable and drastic changes in both brightness and spectra.
The center was cleared of dust and gas, which probably collided with the dust, leaving the thick bright red ring visible in the first image. Dust (seen in blue) formed in a way that could be the size of stellar winds
The images were taken in 2020 and 2014 and combined with others taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 in 1994
The new views show the dual nature of AG Carinae, which was the subject of Hubble’s 31st anniversary image in April.
These two images were taken in 2020 and 2014 and combined with the others taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 in 1994.
The first image shows details of ionized hydrogen and nitrogen emissions from the nebula’s expanded shell (seen here in red), NASA wrote in a statement. Statement.
‘In the second image, the blue color shows the distribution of dust that shines through in the reflected star light.’
‘Astronomers think that powerful stellar winds emanating from the star create and shape bubbles and filaments of dust. The nebula is about five light-years wide, the distance from here to the nearest star beyond the Sun, Proxima Centauri.’
LBV stars are ‘quite rare’ because they are so massive, however, they consistently lose mass in the late stages of their lives.
“As the star’s fuel runs out, its radiation pressure decreases and gravity begins to take hold,” NASA said.
‘The stellar material succumbs to gravity and falls inward. It heats up and explodes out into the surrounding interstellar space.
‘This process continues until enough mass is lost and the star reaches a stable state.’
The nebula that surrounds that star is material it had previously ejected during one of its many ‘explosions’.
The nebula, which is a hollow shell, is about 10,000 years old and the gas emanating from it is moving at 43 miles per second.
The center was cleared of dust and gas, which probably collided with the dust, leaving the thick bright red ring visible in the first image.
The dust – visible in blue – has formed in such a way that it may be the size of stellar winds.
The nebula’s ring appears to have dipole symmetry, which may be due to a disk in the center of the ring or an unknown companion of the star.
Ag Carinae can also spin very rapidly, leading to bipolar symmetry, NASA said.
Since its launch in April 1990, Hubble has made more than 1.5 million observations of the universe, and published more than 18,000 scientific papers based on its data.
It orbits the Earth at a speed of about 17,000 mph (27,300kph) in low-Earth orbit, at an altitude of about 340 miles, slightly higher than the International Space Station.
The telescope is named after famed astronomer Edwin Hubble, who was born in Missouri in 1889 and discovered that the universe is expanding, as well as the rate at which it is doing so.
According to NASA, the much-awaited next-generation James Webb Space Telescope will launch on the European Space Agency’s Ariane 5 rocket on December 18.
NASA is going to replace Hubble with the $10 billion James Webb Telescope, which will be the largest, most powerful and complex space telescope.
After several delays, it is to be launched from French Guiana on 18 December.
Scientists study the atmosphere of distant exoplanets using giant space satellites like Hubble
The positions of distant stars and their orbiting planets are often unlike anything we see in our atmosphere.
To understand these new worlds, and what they are made of, scientists need to be able to figure out what their atmospheres consist of.
They often do this using a telescope similar to NASA’s Hubble Telescope.
These giant satellites scan the sky and lock up exoplanets that may be of interest to NASA.
Here, the sensors on board perform different types of analysis.
One of the most important and useful is called absorption spectroscopy.
This form of analysis measures the light that is emanating from a planet’s atmosphere.
Each gas absorbs slightly different wavelengths of light, and when this happens a black line appears over the full spectrum.
These lines correspond to a very specific molecule, indicating its presence on the planet.
They are often called the Fraunhofer lines after the German astronomer and physicist who first discovered them in 1814.
By combining all the different wavelengths of light, scientists can determine all the chemicals that make up a planet’s atmosphere.
The key is that what is missing provides clues to find out what is present.
It is extremely important that this be done by space telescopes, because then the Earth’s atmosphere would interfere.
Absorption from chemicals in our atmosphere will skew the sample, which is why it’s important to study light before it has a chance to reach Earth.
It is often used to look for helium, sodium and even oxygen in exotic environments.
This diagram shows how light passing through a star and through an exoplanet’s atmosphere generates Fraunhofer lines indicating the presence of…