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Monday, July 20, 2015

CARINAE NEBULA


The Southern Hemisphere is rich in celestial objects.  One of them is the bright star Eta Carinae.  It is a double star system where the bigger star went a partial Nova twice in the 1800's.  What has been dubbed The Great Eruption happened in1838 and a lesser eruption in 1889. After the 1838 eruption, Eta Carina suddenly became the second brightest star in our sky.  In 1868 the star had dimmed so much that it became invisible.  Since then it has brightened and dimmed many times.

Whats even more interesting than the partial nova itself is the fact that the smaller companion star has an eccentric orbit which disrupts the gasses which were expelled during the eruption.

This has caught the attention of many world class astronomers and has been focused on by Hubble Space Telescope and many of the largest telescopes of the world, some of which are housed in South America.

A quick google search will reveal volumes of information on this very intriguing system and is very much worth a look for anyone interested in astronomy.

Eta Carinae image from http://messier.seds.org/xtra/ngc/etacar.html

3D Model of the path that the smaller star makes through the gases surrounding the larger companion star.  The surrounding disruption in the gasses has astronomers very interested.


Image from scietechdaily

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