Incredible Shockwave Of Repulsive Star Hitting Space At 100,000 Miles Per Hour

Zeta Oviucci once orbited close to another star, before the companion disintegrated in a supernova explosion. Infrared data from Spitzer revealed a surprising shockwave made of material that burst from the surface of the star and collided with gas on its way. Chandra’s data show X-ray emission bubbles located around the star, generated by a gas heated to tens of millions of degrees by the shock wave. Chandra’s data helps tell more about the story of this wild star. credit: X-rays: NASA/CXC/Univ. Cambridge / c. Cesc Raines et al; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA; Optics: PanSTARRS

  • Zeta Ophiuchi is the only star that may have once had a companion that disintegrated during a supernova.
  • The supernova explosion sent the zeta Ophiuchi into space as seen in the Spitzer (in green and red) and Chandra data (in blue).
  • The X-rays that Chandra discovered came from the heating of the gas to millions of degrees by the shockwave effect.
  • Scientists are working to match computational models of this object to interpret the data obtained at different wavelengths.

Zeta Ophiuchi is a star with a complicated past, possibly propelled from its hometown by a powerful stellar explosion. View new description by[{” attribute=””>NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory helps tell more of the history of this runaway star.

Located approximately 440 light-years from Earth, Zeta Ophiuchi is a hot star that is about 20 times more massive than the Sun. Evidence that Zeta Ophiuchi was once in close orbit with another star, before being ejected at about 100,000 miles per hour when this companion was destroyed in a supernova explosion over a million years ago has been provided by previous observations.

In fact, previously released infrared data from NASA’s now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope, seen in this new composite image, reveals a spectacular shock wave (red and green) that was formed by matter blowing away from the star’s surface and slamming into gas in its path. A bubble of X-ray emission (blue) located around the star, produced by gas that has been heated by the effects of the shock wave to tens of millions of degrees, is revealed by data from Chandra.

A team of astronomers has constructed the first detailed computer models of the shock wave. They have begun testing whether the models can explain the data obtained at different wavelengths, including X-ray, infrared, optical, and radio observations. All three of the different computer models predict fainter X-ray emissions than observed. In addition, the bubble of X-ray emission is brightest near the star, whereas two of the three computer models predict the X-ray emission should be brighter near the shock wave. The team of astronomers was led by Samuel Green from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in Ireland.

In the future, the scientists plan to test more complex models with additional physics—including the effects of turbulence and particle acceleration—to see if the agreement improves with the X-ray data.

A paper describing these findings has been accepted in the journal astronomy and astrophysicsThe lunar data used here was originally analyzed by Jess Toala of the Andalusian Institute of Astrophysics in Spain, who also wrote the proposal that led to the observation.

Reference: “Thermal Emissions from Arc Shock. II. Zeta Oviucci 3D Magneto-hydrodynamic Model” by S. Green, J. McKay, P. Kavanagh, TJ Howarth, M. Mutzouri and VV Guarmadze, Approved , astronomy and astrophysics,
DOI: 10.1051 / 0004-6361 / 202243531

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Chandra X-ray Center controls science operations from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.