See Runaway Stars That Leave Infrared Waves In Milky Way

Posted: Jan 7 2016, 7:34am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

See Runaway Stars that Leave Infrared Waves in Milky Way
Bow shocks thought to mark the paths of massive, speeding stars are highlighted in these images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Wyoming
  • Runaway Stars leave their Tracks behind in Outer Space

It is a fact that renegade stars leave their tracks in the form of infrared waves in the depths of outer space.

Astronomers are discovering many stars using special NASA telescopes that could look into the far pavilions of outer space. Some stars leave a mass of gaseous dust in their wake rather like an ocean liner has a large spume of water in front of its bow. These phenomena of space are called bows shocks and they are shaped like arcs. They are a common feature of renegade stars.

Many stars get sacked (so to say) when their companion stars explode in the form of a supernovae. Especially, crowded cluster stars show this feature. As for the gravitational drive, it further increases the speed of the star as compared to others in its vicinity.

"Some stars get the boot when their companion star explodes in a supernova, and others can get kicked out of crowded star clusters," said astronomer William Chick from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, who presented his team's new results at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Kissimmee, Florida.

"The gravitational boost increases a star's speed relative to other stars."

Our sun is moving along at a leisurely pace through the Milky Way. What remains unknown is whether the sun causes a bow shock.

Compared to this a massive star such as the Zeta Ophiuchi is traveling through space much faster than the sun. This star’s bow shock can easily be detected and it is massive.

Zeta Oph's giant bow shock can be seen in this image from the WISE mission.

Both the speed of stars and their size determine the bow shock they generate. The more massive a star, the more the debris that collects in its front area.

Zeta Ophiuchi is as much as 20 times as big as our sun. It has very fast winds that surround it. The pile of stellar dust starts to become incandescent after awhile.

This sends out infrared light. And this light appears as red on the spectrum when we gaze at it from the telescopic lens. Hundreds of images of indistinct red arcs have been taken so far with the telescopes.

The bow shocks are normally seen in fast stars that have been given added impetus via a gravitational push. Bow shocks are being seen to determine the speed of the stars.

They are not only crucial criteria but the very experimental basis of studying these stars. Many such bow shocks were found in the 80s. The infrared data lends vital clues as to what is going on in the outer limits of our universe.

"WISE and Spitzer have given us the best images of bow shocks so far," said Peri. "In many cases, bow shocks that looked very diffuse before, can now be resolved, and, moreover, we can see some new details of the structures."

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