Deciphering Eta Carinae’s eruptive twin

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en

Released

02/02/2018

Length

00:02:03

Copyright

ESA - European Space Agency

Description

ESA's XMM-Newton has spotted surprising changes in the powerful streams of gas from two massive stars in the binary star system HD 5980. One of the two stars had a major outburst reminiscent of the 19th-century eruption of Eta Carinae, and astronomers expected that its X-ray emission would fade gently over the years. Instead, they found the pair was two and a half times brighter than a decade earlier, and its X-ray emission was even more energetic, suggesting that colliding stellar winds don’t behave as expected.

Full story: Stellar winds behaving unexpectedly

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