MessageToEagle.com

Closer Look At A Binary Star Cocooned Within An Exotic Nebula

27 February, 2013

Share this story:
Follow us:

MessageToEagle.com - Continuing a tradition stretching back more than 25 centuries, astronomers have used the new 2.3-m 'Aristarchos' telescope, sited at Helmos Observatory (2340m high) in the Peloponnese Mountains in Greece, to determine the distance to and history of an enigmatic stellar system, discovering it to likely be a binary star cocooned within an exotic nebula.

The researchers, Panos Boumis of the National Observatory of Athens and John Meaburn of the University of Manchester, publish the first scientific result from the telescope in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Stars of a similar mass to the Sun end their lives by ejecting much of their outer atmosphere into space, leaving behind a remnant core that eventually becomes a so called white dwarf.


Aristarchos Telescope located at the top of Chelmos Mountain in Achaia, Kalavryta, Greece (altitude: 2340m/7677ft.)


The shells of ejected material sometimes have the superficial appearance of planets so were named planetary nebulae. Astronomers can study the motion and appearance of the material in planetary nebulae to deduce how the remnant stars have changed over time.



Click on image to enlarge

Bipolar Planetary Nebula KjPn8 (PN G112.5-00.1)

KjPn8 (also known as PN G112.5-00.1) is located in the constellation of Cassiopeia.


In the 1950s the planetary nebula KjPn8 was discovered on Palomar Observatory Sky Survey plates. Follow up work in the 1990s by Mexican astronomers at the San Pedro Martir Observatory led to the discovery of giant lobes around the system, one quarter of a degree across, while in 2000 the central star was finally revealed by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Dr Boumis and Prof. Meaburn set out to study this system, installing a narrowband imaging camera on the Aristarchos telescope, the largest aperture instrument in south-eastern Europe, to measure the expansion more accurately.

By measuring the velocity and increasing size of the expanding material, the two scientists were able to deduce the distance to the system and date the history of the three ejected lobes.

They found that KjPn8 is around 6000 light years away and that the material was thrown out in three phases 3200, 7200 and 50000 years ago.

The inner lobe of material is expanding at 334 km per second, suggesting it originates in an Intermediate Luminosity Optical Transient (ILOT) event.

ILOTs are caused by the transfer of material from a massive star to its less massive companion, in turn creating jets that flow in different directions.



Click on image to enlarge

An image of the giant lobes of the planetary nebula KjPn 8 in the light of the emission lines of hydrogen and singly ionised nitrogen, obtained with the narrowband camera on the new 2.3-m Aristarchos telescope. Detailed measurements of the lobes have allowed the determination of their expansion velocity, distance and ages. The results indicate their origin in a remarkable eruptive binary system. (Credit: P. Boumis / J. Meaburn)


Boumis and Meaburn believe that the core of KjPn8 is therefore a binary system, where every so often ILOT events lead to the ejection of material at high speed.

Dr Boumis is delighted to see the first results from the new telescope giving clues to the history of such an intriguing system. He comments: "Greece is one of the global birthplaces of astronomy, so it is fitting that research into the wider universe continues in the 21st century.

With the new telescope we expect to contribute to that global effort for many years to come."

Paper is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

MessageToEagle.com

See also:
Researchers Have Identified The First "Bone" Of The Milky Way

Follow MessageToEagle.com for the latest news on Facebook and Twitter !

Don't Miss Our Stories! Get Our Daily Email Newsletter

Enter your email address:


Once you have confirmed your email address, you will be subscribed to the newsletter.

Recommend this article:

Teleportation Experiments Continue - Record-Breaking Distance of 143 Kilometers Achieved!

Violent Behavior Of Our Sun - Massive 500,000 Mile Long Filament Observed

First Massive Galaxies Lit Up The Early Universe

Intense Blue Lightning On Saturn Visible From Space In Broad Daylight!

Subscribe To Our Space, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Earth and Xenology News!

Grab the latest RSS feeds right to your reader, desktop or mobile phone.

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

Go to - MAIN PAGE

Copyright © MessageToEagle.com All rights reserved.
Go to - MAIN PAGE


Get our top stories
Follow MessageToEagle.com

 Subscribe in a reader

Join Us On Facebook!

Other Popular Articles

Universe:


Juno Spacecraft's Critical Mission - To Uncover The Secrets Hidden Beneath Jupiter's Mysterious Clouds

What’s Going On Out There? - NASA's RBSP Spacecraft Will Meet ‘Killer Electrons’ And Other Dangerous Phenomena

New Photos Of Saturn And Its Moon Titan - See A Striking Change Of Colors!

Beautiful and Mysterious Superbubble In The Large Magellanic Cloud Observed By Chandra

WISE Discovers Millions Of Black Holes And 1,000 Extreme Galaxies Called Hot DOGS

Dawn Spacecraft Is Heading Towards Dwarf Planet Ceres To Investigate The Formation Of Our Solar System

Lunar Paradox Problem: Moon Origin In Focus Again!

There Is Sugar In That Star! Life Building Blocks Discovered Around A Sun-Like Star

First Planetary System Orbiting Two Suns Found By Kepler

Astronomers Test Einstein In A New Regime Using Pair of Burnt-Out Stars

The Universe Will Vanish In 100 Billion Years - Says Nobel Prize Winner Brian P. Schmidt

Our Creator Is A Cosmic Computer Programmer - Says JPL Scientist

Mysterious, Huge 'Pigtail' Molecular Cloud Discovered In The Galactic Center

Astronomers See The Infant Universe's Oldest Galaxies Yet!

Star With The Secret Of Eternal Youth

Physicists Challenge Validity Of Big Bang Theory

Space-Time Crystal Computer That Can Outlive Even The Universe Itself!

Dawn Spacecraft Is Heading Towards Dwarf Planet Ceres To Investigate The Formation Of Our Solar System

New Photos Of Saturn And Its Moon Titan - See A Striking Change Of Colors!

What’s Going On Out There? - NASA's RBSP Spacecraft Will Meet ‘Killer Electrons’ And Other Dangerous Phenomena

Mysterious X-Rays From Jupiter Near The Poles

W3Counter