Scientists take an unprecedented look at the unstable Eta Carinae through the aid of 3d printing, in hopes of new findings. Astrophysicists have revealed studies and 3d models that have shown the existence of a massive whirlpool-like structure at the center of the two massive stars.
The bright and perplexing star system is located in the constellation known as Carina. Astronomers predict that of the two stars that make Eta Carinae one will emerge soon as a supernova, as the violent environment the two coexist would suggest. In the 1800’s, the two stars burst together twice, for motives scientists have yet to understand.
The possibility of one of the Eta Carinae to transform itself into a supernova was discussed at the American Astronomical Society which reached its 225th meeting. With help from the amount of work and data accumulated in 11 years, a team of scientists developed a 3d simulation of Eta Carinae. And with their newly printed model, they were able to find more understandings of the starry system.
As such, the model showed a difference in the winds of the two companions. The first star, which is the bigger, more brighter one, has very slow winds that can only reach one million miles/hour. These winds are also remarkably dense, being able to move away the mass of our sun every few thousands of years The smaller, hotter star is assumed to have much more rapid winds, pumping at a speed close to six times as faster as the winds present on the first star. As for the density of the smaller star, it is smaller than the first, in fact it could carry as 100 times less matter than its double.
The first computer printed model of a astrophysical system uses information gather from research and has revealed the effect each of the star’s wind has on the other by means of slicing the 3d model in half. At the collision area of the two winds’ forces, the astrophysicists have discovered some elongated appendices that extend radially around the impact area. These formations are explained to be like walls of gas, are the physical manifestations of the instability that prevails when a more fast wind collides with a slower one.
The massive duo may one day end its existence in two enormous supernova explosions, as Michael Corcoran from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center predicts.
Image Source: Gemini Observatory
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