Feeds

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

Blue performer left pale, grubby by energetic episodes

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.