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The Beating of the Dwarf August 5, 2008

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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Artist's impression of AE Aqr
Credit:

Terada et al.; JAXA; NASA; Artist: Casey Reed

Description:

White dwarfs are cinders left behind after low mass stars have run out of hydrogen fuel and their outer atmospheres have drifted away into space. These objects are very hot when first revealed but they rather quickly grow cool and faint beyond detectability. No one knows how many white dwarfs there are in our Galaxy. Sometimes white dwarfs are gravitationally bound to a “normal” companion star, and can draw matter off the companion and rejuvenate themselves somewhat by the power of this accretion. When this happens sometimes surprising things can occur. One such surprise was detected by the Suzaku X-ray observatory. Astronomers using Suzaku to monitor a white dwarf binary star system called AE Aqr (shown in the artist interpretation above) found something never before seen: regular beats or pulses of hard X-ray emission. These pulsations are believed to originate near the poles of this highly magnetized white dwarf. A similar mechanism operates in neutron stars, much rarer objects produced by the collapse of the core of a high mass star. This is the first time pulsations like this have been seen from a white dwarf. How many other pulsing dwarfs are out there?

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XRT Observes Corona of Million Degrees January 6, 2007

Posted by jtintle in Space Fotos, Sun.
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Credit:

ISAS/JAXA, NAOJ/NINS, NASA, PPARC

Description:

In the press conference held on 20 December 2006, latest data and movie from X-Ray Telescope (XRT) had been released. XRT observes corona of million degrees. It is still a mystery how the corona is heated to that high temperature. This movie show activity of solar corona for 12 days. An active region goes behind the west limb while another one comes from east limb. Ubiquitous small brightenings suggest magnetic activity is taking place all around the Sun.

AKARI’s mid-infrared image of reflection nebula IC 1396 August 30, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Deep Space, Space Fotos.
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AKARI’s mid-infrared image of reflection nebula IC 1396

Credit:

JAXA

Description:

This mid-infrared, false-colour composite image shows the reflection nebula IC 1396 in the constellation Cepheus, as viewed by AKARI’s Infrared Camera (IRC) in its scanning mode (at 9 and 18 micrometers wavelength). IC 1396 is a bright star formation region located about 3000 light years from our Solar System, in a region where very massive (several tens of solar masses) stars are presently being born. Massive young stars in the central region of the image have swept out the gas and dust to the periphery of the nebula, creating a hollow shell-like structure. The formation of a new generation of stars is now taking place within the compressed gas in these outer shell structures. With this high-resolution and high-quality image AKARI has revealed for the first time the detailed distribution of the gas and dust swept out over the entire nebula. Many recently born stars that were previously unknown are now expected to be detected thanks to this new image, while detailed analysis of these data will reveal the story of the star formation in this area.

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