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Aging Star System Leaves Strange Death Spiral

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the tox-utaht-spotted dept.

Space 79

jamie tips a post at Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog about an extremely unusual astronomical phenomenon originating from a binary system about 3000 light years away. Quoting: "The name of this thing is AFGL 3068. It's been known as a bright infrared source for some time, but images just showed it as a dot. This Hubble image using the Advanced Camera for Surveys reveals an intricate, delicate and exceedingly faint spiral pattern. ... Red giants tend to blow a lot of their outer layers into space in an expanding spherical wind; think of it as a super-solar wind. The star surrounds itself with a cloud of this material, essentially enclosing it in a cocoon. In general the material isn't all that thick, but in some of these stars there is an overabundance of carbon in the outer layers which gets carried along in these winds. ... AFGL 3068 is a carbon star and most likely evolved just like this, but with a difference: it's a binary. As the two stars swing around each other, the wind from the carbon star doesn't expand in a sphere. Instead, we see a spiral pattern as the material expands."

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Strange Death Spiral (4, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493190)

Strange Death Spiral

What? Doesn't everyone know this is due to The Last Starfighter?

Re:Strange Death Spiral (4, Funny)

RMingin (985478) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494542)

Reference fail. TLS had the Death BLOSSOM. Please hand in your card.

Re:Strange Death Spiral (2, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33496822)

Yes, but if I'd said blossom you might not have connected it with spiral. Whereas, the way I wrote it, you did. Helping people make connections is part of communication.

Re:Strange Death Spiral (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499074)

Dude, its too late for excuses and quite honestly, it makes you look weak. The decision was made, turn it in. You will have to earn it back.

Second post as well?! (-1, Offtopic)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493206)

For god's sake post something people, I'm getting lonely with this first post and second post crap ;)

Stand by for an IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33493214)

the Troll High Council has DISBANDED.
Effective Sep 05 The THC is no more.

Re:Stand by for an IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493352)

Because I sued 'em for copyright infringement.

THC, the Tinfoil Hat Crew, [myspace.com] is the name of my music project painstakingly developed in 2005 with copious amounts of gin and chronic masturbation.

p.s. freelance trolls are alive and well.

Amazing! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33493226)

That's the coolest thing I've seen in a while, and how fortunate that it's oriented just right for us to see! Good to know there's always an inexhaustible supply of strange, bizarre things out there.

Re:Amazing! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33493240)

That's the coolest thing I've seen in a while, and how fortunate that it's oriented just right for us to see! Good to know there's always an inexhaustible supply of strange, bizarre things out there.

only bizarre if you continue to ignore the electric universe. gas that is that hot is not "hot gas" it's plasma. plasma is electrically conductive. a spiral is exactly the form you'd expect a birkeland current in glow discharge mode to take. no mystery there unless you absolutely insist on viewing it in terms of mechanical shock waves. then it's strange indeed.

Re:Amazing! (3, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493286)

a spiral is exactly the form you'd expect...no mystery there unless you absolutely insist on viewing it in terms of mechanical shock waves.

Also, if you see it as a big cappuccino for even bigger aliens, there's no mystery at all about why they'd stir it in this pattern ;)

p.s.: I'm just having fun, not ridiculing the idea of an electric universe. But I believe that's already been done adequately.

Re:Amazing! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33493770)

a spiral is exactly the form you'd expect...no mystery there unless you absolutely insist on viewing it in terms of mechanical shock waves.

Also, if you see it as a big cappuccino for even bigger aliens, there's no mystery at all about why they'd stir it in this pattern ;)

p.s.: I'm just having fun, not ridiculing the idea of an electric universe. But I believe that's already been done adequately.

you're a fucking nigger who ridicules what is true. that is why you're a nigger, and why nigger means "stupid maladaptive individual" with no regard for race or color. fuck off.

Re:Amazing! (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33496802)

you're a fucking nigger who ridicules what is true.

Ahh, so you HAVE met me.

Re:Amazing! (1)

BraksDad (963908) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498320)

Perhaps it is a giant alien head that has been swirlied in a giant galactic toilet bowl (Black Hole). Oh wait every one knows aliens are bald.

Re:Amazing! (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498612)

only bizarre if you continue to ignore the electric universe. gas that is that hot is not "hot gas" it's plasma. plasma is electrically conductive. a spiral is exactly the form you'd expect a birkeland current in glow discharge mode to take. no mystery there unless you absolutely insist on viewing it in terms of mechanical shock waves. then it's strange indeed.

1) There is no mystery here in conventional cosmology whatsoever. This is exactly what you'd expect to see when the source of the emission is moving in a circle. The Slashdot submission painted it as "strange", welcoming you to make the false inference that this means "unexplained", only revealing at the end why this is unusual, but not actually mysterious: It's a binary system. The stars are circling each other, and so it is completely expected that their emissions would form a spiral. But you were happy to assume "conventional cosmology cannot explain this" even though it was both unstated and unsupported.

2) Astrophysicists are well aware that stars and their emissions consist of plasmas; it's an important component of modern solar models. They are also aware that while plasmas are conductive if of sufficient density, a sufficiently dense plasma will also be quasi-neutral and the negatively and positively charged particles therein cannot move in the same direction under the influence of an electric field. Electric cosmologists forget this when trying to explain stellar emissions like the solar wind, which has been experimentally shown to be quasi-neutral (as would be expected by anyone who actually understood plasmas).

Leaping on non-existent failings of conventional theory, while ignoring the blatant contradictions between EU and experiment, are par for the course however.

Re:Amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33513756)

Anonymous coward says: bizarre and strange are often within arm's reach unfortunately. Glad to enjoy this show from here though.

Lucky us to see it this way: (2, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493230)

Given that the only way we could see this amazing sight is it to be "flat" to us in our line of sight, if it was side on we would never see this in the glory that is there to be seen.

Makes me wonder the same thing about all the planet hunters and exo-planets that we are finding - how many more would we be able to find if it didn't rely on having just the right angle from our vantage point...

Re:Lucky us to see it this way: (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493332)

Given that the only way we could see this amazing sight is it to be "flat" to us in our line of sight...

It's an amazing coincidence that it is flat on, but we'd still see it if it was at an angle. It' would just look oval rather than round. It would have to be nearly edge-on to be invisible.

Makes me wonder the same thing about all the planet hunters and exo-planets that we are finding - how many more would we be able to find if it didn't rely on having just the right angle from our vantage point...

Assuming that the angle is random, the calculation should be straightforward. I'm sure it's been done.

Re:Lucky us to see it this way: (2, Insightful)

shermo (1284310) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494026)

Would you expect it to be random? Assuming we're looking at our own galaxy, would you expect some preference for orientation w.r.t. the galaxy's plane of rotation?

Re:Lucky us to see it this way: (2, Insightful)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#33496296)

Until we know a lot of them, we simply don't know. However, considering the galactic plane is tilted with respect to our own ecliptic, I suspect the working theory is that no, the two have little to nothing to do with each other.

I'd be curious the percentages of stars that a mission like Kepler is looking at, that actually have planets transiting them. And if that percentage is roughly equal to what you'd expect with a random distribution of ecliptics. It would not surprise me in the least if the numbers matched.

Re:Lucky us to see it this way: (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498972)

Until we know a lot of them, we simply don't know. However, considering the galactic plane is tilted with respect to our own ecliptic, I suspect the working theory is that no, the two have little to nothing to do with each other.

About 85 degrees, so almost perpendicular in fact. Which is quite handy for Kepler, since it can look down our Sagittarius arm without worrying about the sun (or anything else in the solar system) getting in the way.

Personally, I'm guessing the galactic picture looks a lot like our solar system does. The overall angular momentum is strongly aligned in a plane. However, just like the individual planets have moon systems that may or may not be aligned with that plane, so to are stellar systems not necessarily aligned since they're dominated by local gravity and angular momentum. Maybe systems closer to the center of the galaxy are more likely to be aligned, like our moon is very close to the ecliptic. I dunno, it seems the galactic core may be less dense relative to the rest of the galaxy than the sun is compared to the planets. But I'm too lazy to go find out. :)

I'd be curious the percentages of stars that a mission like Kepler is looking at, that actually have planets transiting them. And if that percentage is roughly equal to what you'd expect with a random distribution of ecliptics. It would not surprise me in the least if the numbers matched.

Well that'd mean we'd have to make an assumption as to how many stars have planets at all. Given how fast we're finding them, though, if the Kepler data matched a random distribution under the assumption that nearly every star had a system, I'd take that in a cautiously optimistic fashion as good evidence.

Re:Lucky us to see it this way: (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503808)

I'd be very surprised if the numbers matched. Kepler is not expected to detect planets on every star that has a planet with the right angle, there are some other restrictions, like orbit period and size.

Based on our Solar System alone, I'd guess that it is quite rare for a star to have a planetary system that Kepler could detect. My guess is already wrong ;)

Re:Lucky us to see it this way: (4, Informative)

MollyB (162595) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493390)

Makes me wonder the same thing about all the planet hunters and exo-planets that we are finding - how many more would we be able to find if it didn't rely on having just the right angle from our vantage point...

There are many ways [wikipedia.org] to detect extrasolar planets besides the angle of our line of sight. And, as the above poster noted, they've probably got those weird angles figured out, too.

Re:Lucky us to see it this way: (2, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493922)

Fortunately some of the most valuable data from planet hunts isn't from the individual discoveries, but rather the overall statistics of the likelihood of planet formation. You can account for known biases (i.e. Kepler will only see a fraction of the planetary systems it could due to the geometry of the occultations,) and back out the true statistics.

While it should be fairly simple in this case (assuming theres not a correlation between the plane of a system and its likelihood of forming planets), you can actually do a lot more complicated things too. I know more about the de-biasing process for Near Earth Asteroids, and these can be very complex combinations of observational results and a priori knowledge. The models I've used most (developed by Bottke et. al.) did numerical monte carlo simulations of how asteroids move from the main belt into the NEA range, to understand the way individual sources lead them to distributed, and then combined this with observational results, as well as knowledge of detection biases (easier to see them closer and at opposition) to back out an estimate of the relative contribution of each source region.

Most people involved know their data is spotty and limited, and a lot of work goes into accounting for the limitations and extracting as much information as possible from what they do have.

Re:Lucky us to see it this way: (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33497562)

If I understand you properly, umm... I like pie too?

Re:Lucky us to see it this way: (1)

BenihanaX (1405543) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494878)

All of them.

Re:Lucky us to see it this way: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33495092)

Damn this third dimension!

I've always wondered (1)

vikstar (615372) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493322)

the close star you can see on the right, how big is it actually in the image? Is it smaller than a pixel, and the bright light just bleeds into the surrounding pixels, or is it actually about the same size as the white circle that can be seen?

Re:I've always wondered (4, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493350)

It's a point. What you're seeing is lens flare and glare in the optics. The only star whose surface has been resolved into a disk is Betelgeuse, a red giant star located in Orion.

Re:I've always wondered (3, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493356)

And Sol of course.

Re:I've always wondered (2, Funny)

NetNed (955141) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494048)

You know if you say Betelgeuse two more times that creepy pervert from the after life will appear, so be careful!.

AHHHHH DAM, I said it once so if it is said one more time, the self proclaimed "Ghost with the most" will show up. You have been warned!

Re:I've always wondered (1)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494280)

BEETLE JUICE.

Re:I've always wondered (1)

NetNed (955141) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494062)

BTW, on a serious note, if it was a lens flare or glare why isn't it appearing like the star next to it that seems to be suffering from those effects?

Re:I've always wondered (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494124)

Massive difference in overall brightness, probably due to the brighter one being much closer (relatively speaking).

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494140)

A lens flare or glare is a defect that turns a pixel into a pattern a thousand times dimmer. The pixel that contains the star has RGB 1000000,1000000,1000000, so its pattern is visible. Not so for the death spiral.

Re:I've always wondered (2, Insightful)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494250)

The star with the spiral is behind a self produced dust cloud. It makes it look more dramatic.

Re:I've always wondered (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33496618)

I'm not even sure it has a lens. According to TFA, the bars are caused by diffraction from support legs inside.

Re:I've always wondered (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33497566)

Yeah, very good point, I forgot to mention that effect, as well. The Hubble is a Cassegrain-style reflector, whereby, much like in a Newtonian reflector, the primary mirror reflects light back to a secondary mirror (in a Cassegrain-style scope, the light path is folded back on itself, whereas in a Newtonian scope, the secondary reflects the light at a right angle). But this means the secondary mirror must be supported by something, and in the case of the Hubble, that's a system of trusses, thus resulting in the horizontal and vertical diffraction patterns you see in bright objects imaged by the HST.

What made them think to do this? (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493370)

This picture was created from images from the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys on Hubble. Images through a yellow filter (F606W, coloured blue) were combined with images through a near-infra red filter (F804W, coloured red). The exposure times were 11 minutes and 22 minutes respectively and the field of view spans about 80 arcseconds.

Did they download the image and someone said "hey, let's run this through PhotoShop and see what pops up when we mess with the filters."?

Re:What made them think to do this? (1)

pastyM (1580389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493814)

I am not to sure but I think the filters they are using are lens filters on Hubble not the software editing kind.

Re:What made them think to do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494004)

Did they download the image and someone said "hey, let's run this through PhotoShop and see what pops up when we mess with the filters."?
 
Works with nipples... maybe it'll work with stars?

Re:What made them think to do this? (2, Informative)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494284)

Basically every picture you see from space gets that treatment. They take pictures using cameras with bandpass filters in the optics, then simply assign 2 or 3 channels to colors if there's more than 1 channel. Unless they want an "as it might be seen" picture they won't use R/G/B filters.

*Another* strange phenomenon? (0)

Izhido (702328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493440)

Have you noticed how, since the advent of the Internet as a massive information medium, there are suddenly all classes of strange, unexplained stuff out there?

I'm sorry... but either 21st century scientists are really lame, or we humans know *shit* about the universe and the laws that rule it. Wonder which one it is...

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493666)

I'm sorry... but either 21st century scientists are really lame, or we humans know *shit* about the universe and the laws that rule it. Wonder which one it is...

We don't know jack.

"The Universe is not only stranger than we imagine it, it's stranger than we can imagine it. (A. Einstein)

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (5, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493806)

"The Universe is not only stranger than we imagine it, it's stranger than we can imagine it. (A. Einstein)

That's a misquote. It is a garbled quote of a line actually due to biologist J. B. S. Haldane who said "My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." The line is from "Possible Worlds" (sometimes titled "Possible Worlds and Other Papers.")

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493932)

Well, various wikis agree with you. Even better, a biologist said it.

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494194)

My God, it's full of queers!

(Punning with old meanings is so gay!)

Shakespear said it first. (4, Informative)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33495404)

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE / Hamlet Act 1. Scene V

Re:Shakespear said it first. (4, Funny)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33496738)

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE / Hamlet Act 1. Scene V

It sounds much better in the original Klingon

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33496214)

Much more likely it's a misquote of Sir Arthur Eddington's "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33496962)

There's a more generalized form, and I can't find it exactly at the moment but roughly, "truth is stranger than fiction because fiction is bounded by the things we know to be true."

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (1)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498436)

He had a queer eye for the strange Universe.

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493678)

There are a lot more refined telescopes out there now in all kinds of spectra and levels. There have been some amazing advances in optics and processing power to combine images since the early 20th century. What used to be a faint dot can now be resolved into something much better.

There is nothing strange about them and experts in astronomy and physics theory are just looking at it and trying to explain what happens based on our (limited) knowledge of physics and relativity. The more we look the more questions are being unearthed, the more stuff gets 'weird' and the more theories are brought to prove/disprove.

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (1)

pastyM (1580389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493858)

Well I like to think its just lame reporting trying to wright snazzy article. And with the advent of the internet and other computer related tech more (I would call nifty) discovery's are made and lame reporters get there hands on it and blow it a bit out of proportion making them sound more strange then they really are.

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (4, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494100)

Have you noticed how, since the advent of the Internet as a massive information medium, there are suddenly all classes of strange, unexplained stuff out there?

No. What I've noticed is that since the advent of the internet more and more people are getting access to really cool discoveries that would otherwise have been relegated to scientific journals, and accessed only by scientists in the related field(s).

I'm sorry... but either 21st century scientists are really lame, or we humans know *shit* about the universe and the laws that rule it. Wonder which one it is...

We know more than we've ever known before. The thing is, every time we find a real answer to something we end up creating twenty new questions. That's the way human progress has always worked, and that's why science is so friggin' awesome. The more we figure out, the more new things there are to figure out!

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (3, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494778)

"Have you noticed how, since the advent of the Internet as a massive information medium, there are suddenly all classes of strange, unexplained stuff out there?"

The communications revoultion coincides with the revolution occuring in astronomical observations because both are based on the digital revolution.

"I'm sorry... but either 21st century scientists are really lame, or we humans know *shit* about the universe and the laws that rule it. Wonder which one it is..."

"The universe is composed mainly of hydrogen and ignorance" - The sidewalk astronomer.

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494966)

I'm sorry... but either 21st century scientists are really lame, or we humans know *shit* about the universe and the laws that rule it. Wonder which one it is...

No, it's more like this: There's billions of stars out there, and when you investigate billions of something you'll find oddities. Kinda like if you observed one child birth, you'd probably get the normal one. If you looked at many you'd find twins, triplets, quadruplets = binary/trinary/???nary star systems. You'd find handicapped children, one-egged twins, two-egged twins, handicapped children, siamese twins, stillborns, people borne with extra limbs and whatnot. We have, and have had, a pretty good idea of how a normal star is formed, lives and dies. We're still working on cataloging all the exceptions and oddities, but I don't think we're that clueless.

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33495102)

Have you noticed how, since the advent of the Internet as a massive information medium, there are suddenly all classes of strange, unexplained stuff out there?

99% of it is explained in TFA, which 99% of people don't read.

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33496706)

Have you noticed how, since the advent of the Internet as a massive information medium, there are suddenly all classes of strange, unexplained stuff out there?

Maybe, but I don't know how that relates to TFA, since this is not unexplained stuff?

Actually there isn't that much unexplained stuff, compared to all the cool and pretty, yet easily explained stuff like this.

Re:*Another* strange phenomenon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498022)

I'm sorry...

I'm sorry too. I struggle with cynicism—to the point of depression and despair—but I found this awe-inspiring. I can't imagine what it's like to look at this and only feel the need to curse the internet.

Thought you were talking about Lindsay Lohan.. (1, Funny)

wagadog (545179) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493476)

...strange death spiral indeed.

Lens Flare? (1)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493486)

There seems to be a lot of lens flare in the image. Almost as if they used a star-cross filter on their lens. But that would be really silly, so I'm sure they didn't. Is it really that hard to stop the light from bleeding everywhere, or did they give the image a little pep before releasing it?

Re:Lens Flare? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33496676)

They're taking really long exposures with a very sensitive sensor at the limits of engineering. The star on the right many have an incoming photon flux thousands to millions of times of the faint binary system. So the relative exposure means what little diffraction effects from the reflector mountings and aperture builds up a large lens flare over time on the bright stars.

Re:Lens Flare? (1)

sulliwan (810585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506354)

It's not lens flare, they're diffraction spikes. They're not completely useless, as a rule of thumb, something with spikes = a star, without spikes = a galaxy.

Funny, I thought that was Beta Lyrae (3, Interesting)

rbrander (73222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493492)

...at least according to Larry Niven, in "The Soft Weapon" (1967) which was remade into a Star Trek cartoon script "The Slaver Weapon".

"There was smoke across the sky, a trail of red smoke wound in a tight spiral coil..." - one of the first "Interstellar Tourist Attractions".

It's been depicted in fan art:

http://www.scifi-az.com/dixon/ddbetalyrae.htm [scifi-az.com] ...and by the great Chesley Bonestell, who was doing astronomical paintings back before space travel, though this was in 1978:

http://www.noreascon.org/retroart/images/Bonestell,%20Double%20Star.jpg [noreascon.org]

Galaxies (2, Interesting)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493890)

Looking at that picture full resolution provided by bad astronomer, there are quite a few galaxies hanging around in the background. Awesome!

Re:Galaxies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33497570)

I'm stoopid, mod me down for moddin parent down

Yes but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33493950)

...is there a 3D version of the image?

YOURS IS A DRILL THAT WILL PIERCE THE HEAVENS! (1)

darthdavid (835069) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494032)

Go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb! That's the Gurren-dan way!

Another RIAA Story? (1)

youngone (975102) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494102)

I didn't read the summary very closely and assumed this was about the death of big record companies!

Probably the... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494188)

Reapers!!! Good thing Commander Shepherd will save us^*...I AM THE VANGUARD OF YOUR DESTRUCTION

Debian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494326)

Debian everywhere!

links, paper (3, Informative)

melikamp (631205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494686)

ESA page with the full-size image. [spacetelescope.org]

Paper [pdf] [spacetelescope.org] by Mark Morris, Raghvendra Sahai, Keith Matthews, Judy Cheng, Jessica Lu, Mark Claussen and Carmen Sanchez-Contreras.

Abstract. [some formatting may be lost] The extreme carbon star, AFGL 3068, is losing mass at a rate in excess of 104 M yr1 , and has so far been detected only in the infrared because it is hidden by a thick dust photosphere having a color temperature of 300K. Using the ACS camera on HST, we have imaged AFGL 3068 with broad-band lters at 0.6 and 0.8 m and nd a thin, apparently continuous spiral arc winding 4 or 5 times around the location of the star, from angular radii of 2 to 10 arcsec. We interpret this as the projection of nested spiral shells such as were predicted to occur when the mass-losing star is a member of a binary system. In this case, the illumination is presumably provided by ambient galactic starlight. Subsequent near-IR observations with the NIRC2 camera on the Keck II telescope using adaptive optics reveal that AFGL 3068 has two components separated by 0.11 arcsec, or 109 AU at a distance of 1 kpc. One very red component is presumably the mass-losing carbon star, while the other component is apparently a much bluer companion. Assuming each component has mass M(M ), and ignoring the projection of the separation vector, we nd the binary period to be 810 M0.5 yrs, strikingly comparable to the 710-yr separation of the shells obtained from the known outow velocity of 14.7 km s1 .

'Tis but poor AFGL 3068... (1)

notjustchalk (1743368) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494764)

... shuffling off its mortal coil.

Aging Star System Leaves Strange Death Spiral (1)

ignavus (213578) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494770)

This is a story about Hollywood, right?

matrioshka brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33495090)

Looks like a Matrioshka brain.

WAY Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33495144)

Star Wars is WAY better than Star Trek

Re:WAY Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33495978)

Star Wars is WAY better than Star Trek

Get over it, oldfag. It's been 20 years.

How very Beatles... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33495412)

Wonder how much - if any - of the spiral emanating from that carbon star is in the form of diamonds? Lucy in the sky, indeed.

Other end of the Norway wormhole! (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33496910)

I'm surprised this [thesun.co.uk] hasn't been posted yet... you guys are slacking.

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