Sunday, December 30, 2012

Zeta Ophiuchi (Picture of the Day: 12/30/12)

Zeta Ophiuchi. Source

The bright star near the center of this photo is Zeta Ophiuchi. This star is exciting because it is a runaway. Moving at 24 kilometers per second, this star is plowing through the "cosmic seas", to use a quote. The bright, red area to the left of the star is a bow shock created in the interstellar medium by the solar wind from Zeta Ophiuchi. This particular image was taken in the infrared spectrum and then given false color so that we can see it.
This star, which is 20 times the mass of our sun, was likely a part of a binary star system, but was thrown free when the larger star went nova. I just find this really cool.

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