Astronomy Picture of the Day

Doomed Star Eta Carinae

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#85437 by @ 27.03.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Doomed Star Eta Carinae

Eta Carinae may be about to explode.

But no one knows when - it may be
next year, it may be one million years from now.

Eta Carinae's mass - about
100 times greater than our Sun -
makes it an excellent candidate for a full blown supernova.

Historical records do show that about 150 years ago Eta Carinae underwent an unusual outburst
that made it one of the brightest stars in the southern sky.

Eta Carinae, in the
Keyhole Nebula, is the only star currently
thought to emit natural LASER light.

This image, taken in 1996, resulted from sophisticated
image-processing procedures designed to bring out new details in the
unusual nebula that surrounds
rogue star

Now clearly visible are two
distinct lobes, a hot central region, and strange radial streaks.

The lobes are filled with lanes of gas and
dust which absorb the blue and
ultraviolet light emitted near the center.

The streaks remain unexplained.
Will these clues tell us how the nebula was formed?

Will they better indicate when Eta Carinae will explode?

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