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Image of the Week – A Speeding Star – 13/03/11

13 Mar 2011, 14:15 UTC
Image of the Week – A Speeding Star – 13/03/11
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

NASA’s WISE space telescope as captured a star speeding through space.
Alpha Camelopardalis Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Alpha Camelopardalis is the third visually brightest star in the constellation (as its name suggests) Camelopardalis – The Giraffe.
The star is an O-type Supergiant that is blasting its way through space at somewhere between 680-4200 kilometres a second!
The star is thought to be about 48 times the mass of our own sun but is 920,000 times as luminous.
The star is thought to have been accelerated to such astonishing speeds by gravitational interactions with several other stars within its vicinity or the explosion of a binary companion.
As the star is so large it is emitting a ferocious stream of particles from its surface. This is being emitted at approximately 6 millionths the mass of the sun every year, with the material being thrown into space at an incredible speed. As it collides with the slow moving interstellar medium, it compresses it and causes it to heat up and glow in the infra-red. NASA’s WISE can detect these emissions and they are displayed as the red arcs on the above image, with the star itself being the bright central star.
Alpha Camelopardalis is ...

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