Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Astronomy Picture of the Day -- WR 104: A Pinwheel Star System
NASA ^ | June 03, 2014 | (see photo credit)

Posted on 06/04/2014 9:49:53 AM PDT by SunkenCiv

Explanation: Might this giant pinwheel one-day destroy us? Probably not, but investigation of the unusual star system Wolf-Rayet 104 has turned up an unexpected threat. The unusual pinwheel pattern has been found to be created by energetic winds of gas and dust that are expelled and intertwine as two massive stars orbit each other. One system component is a Wolf-Rayet star, a tumultuous orb in the last stage of evolution before it explodes in a supernova -- an event possible anytime in the next million years. Research into the spiral pattern of the emitted dust, however, indicates the we are looking nearly straight down the spin axis of the system -- possibly the same axis along which a powerful jet would emerge were the supernova accompanied by a gamma-ray burst. Now the WR 104 supernova itself will likely be an impressive but harmless spectacle. Conversely, were Earth really near the center of the powerful GRB beam, even the explosion's 8,000 light year distance might not be far enough to protect us. Currently, neither WR 104 nor GRB beams are understood well enough to know the real level of danger.

June 03, 2014

(Excerpt) Read more at 129.164.179.22 ...


TOPICS: Astronomy; Astronomy Picture of the Day; Science
KEYWORDS: apod; astronomy; science; wr104
[Credit & Copyright: P. Tuthill (U. Sydney) & J. Monnier (U. Michigan), Keck Obs., ARC, NSF]

1 posted on 06/04/2014 9:49:53 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: brytlea; cripplecreek; decimon; bigheadfred; KoRn; Grammy; steelyourfaith; Mmogamer; dayglored; ...
The Big One

2 posted on 06/04/2014 9:50:52 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

This would be a little tougher to deal with than an incoming asteroid!

“The shields canna take it, Captain Kirk!”


3 posted on 06/04/2014 10:06:29 AM PDT by headsonpikes (Mass murder and cannibalism are the twin sacraments of socialism - "Who-whom?"-Lenin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Oh my!


4 posted on 06/04/2014 10:23:08 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Spectacular!

I went to The Big One, and ‘way over expanded the image. There is a tiny
white dot in the red spot at the center of the pinwheel. Wonder what that is?

Thank you for the post and ping, good lookin’!


5 posted on 06/04/2014 6:04:31 PM PDT by TheOldLady
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson