Cosmic Bubble

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Like a set of cosmic lips, the pink Wolf-Rayet star HD 50896, 5,000 light-years from Earth, has blown an enormous space bubble (seen in a recent picture) that stretches a staggering 60 light-years across. This feature in the constellation Canis Major has been said to resemble a dog, with a protruding “ear” (upper left), and a “snout” below a pair of piercing “eyes” that includes the pink star (left) and a yellow counterpart.

In this composite image, X-ray data from XMM-Newton’s EPIC camera appear as blue, while visible light from the Curtis-Schmidt telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory is tinted red and green.

Bubbles like S 308 are somehow produced when hot, huge Wolf-Rayet stars—each about 40 times more massive than the sun—emit a shock wave of materials and strong stellar winds. In the future the bubble will pop, and the star will end its days with a supernova bang.
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Written by physicsgg

November 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm


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