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Dying star is ejecting superhot blobs twice the size of Mars

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first_img NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope may be getting on in years, but it’s still uncovering incredible things. The more we look at the cosmos, the more boring our solar system seems to be. Hubble has recently spotted a solar system where the star, known as V Hydrae, appears to be shooting plasma balls the size of a small planet into space on a regular 8.5-year interval, and it probably been happening for at least 400 years. V Hydrae is a red giant star about 1,200 light years away from Earth. A red giant is a star at the end of its life cycle that has burned through most of its nuclear fuel. These stars expand to many times their original size and begin throwing off their outer layers, but they don’t have the necessary energy to launch blobs of plasma twice the size of Mars into space. Thus, astronomers have developed a model to explain the bizarre happenings around V Hydrae, and it involves a younger companion star.The best explanation for the plasma balls is a small companion star that’s on a highly elliptical orbit around V Hydrae. As it nears the vastly expanded V Hydrae every 8.5 years, it picks up matter from its atmosphere into an accretion disk. It then launches balls of plasma from this disk at roughly one million miles per hour as it swings around the star and heads out into deep space again.AdChoices广告The plasma ejected from V Hydrae eventually expand into super-hot plumes of gas that extend into its outer solar system. NASA analysis has detected visible blobs that date back as far as 1986 (on our timeline some 1,200 light years away), and sub-millimeter wave analysis of the V Hydrae system reveals cooler, non-visible plumes that date back centuries. Astronomers think V Hydrae might be an example of stellar processes that occur in many planetary nebulae surrounding dead stars. Astronomers plan to conduct further studies of V Hydrae with other instruments to they know what to look for in other star systems. Stay on target Hubble Space Telescope Captures Star’s Eerie Gaseous GlowMilky Way ‘Ate’ a Nearby Dwarf Galaxy 10 Billion Years Ago, Study Finds last_img read more