Detail: A 'Cannibal Star' (NASA, Chandra, 09/14/10)

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    Editor's Note: This is a detail from this side-by-side image: www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05/4990257677/. It shows the right-side "artist concept" of BP Piscium, a star in the constellation Pisces. Full captiion appears below.

    The composite image on the left shows X-ray and optical data for BP Piscium (BP Psc), a more evolved version of our Sun about 1,000 light years from Earth. Chandra X-ray Observatory data are colored in purple, and optical data from the 3-meter Shane telescope at Lick Observatory are shown in orange, green and blue. BP Psc is surrounded by a dusty and gaseous disk and has a pair of jets several light years long blasting out of the system. A close-up view is shown by the artist's impression on the right. For clarity a narrow jet is shown, but the actual jet is probably much wider, extending across the inner regions of the disk. Because of the dusty disk, the star’s surface is obscured in optical and near infrared light. Therefore, the Chandra observation is the first detection of this star in any wavelength.

    The disk and the jets, seen distinctly in the optical data, provide evidence for a recent and catastrophic interaction in which BP Psc consumed a nearby star or giant planet. This happened when BP Psc ran out of nuclear fuel and expanded into its "red giant" phase.

    Jets and a disk are often characteristics of very young stars, so astronomers thought BP Psc might be one as well. However, the new Chandra results argue against this interpretation, because the X-ray source is fainter than expected for a young star. Another argument previously used against the possible youth of BP Psc was that it is not located near any star-forming cloud and there are no other known young stars in its immediate vicinity. The Chandra image supports this absence of a cluster of young stars, since multiwavelength studies show that most of the X-ray sources in the composite image are likely to be rapidly growing supermassive black holes in the centers of distant galaxies.

    Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/RIT/J. Kastner et al. Optical: UCO/Lick/STScI/M. Perrin et al. Illustration: CXC/M. Weiss

    Read entire caption/view more images: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2010/bppsc/

    Caption credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

    Read more about Chandra:
    www.nasa.gov/chandra

    p.s. You can see all of our Chandra photos in the Chandra Group in Flickr at: www.flickr.com/groups/chandranasa/ We'd love to have you as a member!

    Patrick Leitz, Isabella C. Soniak, and 37 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. rlurama 44 months ago | reply

      Congratulations, E x c e l l e n t!
      EPERKE Award (Post 2: Award 5)

      Epaw

      2 photos each day! Have a nice day!

    2. Dr. Ilia 44 months ago | reply

      masterful capture
      !!★ High Quality Image ★


      Qualified Member's Only

    3. S.S.F. Happiness - Thanks for 3 Millions + Visits 44 months ago | reply

      Wonderful Scenery... Great Capture!


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    4. Kahlan Bingyi 44 months ago | reply

      Awesome Shot!

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    5. livin1965 [deleted] 44 months ago | reply

      Unreal :-O
      what a Nice Shot:) Congratulations!
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      *★ Beautiful Shot ★

    6. S.S.F. Happiness - Thanks for 3 Millions + Visits 44 months ago | reply

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    7. SYFY FAN [deleted] 44 months ago | reply

      the amazing colors of nature

    8. ╰⊰✿ Balexia87 44 months ago | reply

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    9. Mr Gold 44 months ago | reply

      Awesome Shot!

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    10. leograttoni 44 months ago | reply

      Amazing picture. It´s very interesting .

    11. crazydude713 44 months ago | reply

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    12. JCGARCIA2010 (busy, busy, bzzzzzzz) 44 months ago | reply

      fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

    13. NamWizard 44 months ago | reply

      Great work! Thanks for the info!

    14. aurelia_ke 41 months ago | reply

      °°°°°°°°°°°

      wow ! !

      °°°°°°°°°°

    15. That Snake Guy 33 months ago | reply

      This was just what I needed to accompany my recent blog post. I have linked it back to here.

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