Feeds

Exotic star's 'violent ejections' during companion's visits

Blue performer left pale, grubby by energetic episodes

Security for virtualized datacentres

Pic Astronomers have released imagery of an "exotic" star which spurts out "regular ejections of matter" every few decades. The scientists theorise that this is caused by occasional interactions between the star and a longtime companion.

The star HD87643, imaged by the ESO's 2.2-metre telescope at La Silla

A cloudless sky lets you see the clouds in the sky. Bigger (20MB) TIFF version here.

The revelations come from the European Southern Observatory (ESO), a multinational science alliance. A team of top astro brainboxes have been probing the secrets of the star HD 87643, "a member of the exotic class of B[e] stars", for some time using the ESO's mighty telecopes located high in the mountains of Chile.

B[e] stars, apparently, are stars of spectral type B, with special emission lines in their spectra. They are surrounded by a large amount of dust. Type B stars are usually described as "blue/white" in colour, though this depends on conditions and which star you're on about. This one, in the middle of the pic, looks more white to us. The extended nebula of gas and dust surrounding the star can be clearly seen.

According to aptly-named ESO spokesman Dr Henri Boffin, boffins carrying out the research - led by Florentin Millour of Germany's Max-Planck Institut für Radioastronomie - believe that HD87643 gives off "regular ejections of matter from the star every 15 to 50 years". It is these ejections which have formed the unusual nebula surrounding the system.

Millour's crew theorise that the regular emissions of cosmic star-juice are caused by a companion star orbiting the central sun, which spends much of its time at a distance of perhaps 50 times that of the Earth from our Sun. According to Boffin:

The presence of the companion could be an explanation for the regular ejection of matter from the star and the formation of the nebula: as the companion moves on a highly elliptical orbit, it would regularly come very close to HD 87643, triggering an ejection.

Millour and Co's scholarly paper can be read in pdf courtesy of the ESO here. There are more pics here. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.