Monday, September 1, 2014

Eta Carinae

Eta Carinae: A double star system that contains one of the largest most massive stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

The Eta Carinae double star system contains one of the biggest and brightest stars in our Galaxy, weighing at least 90 times the mass of the Sun. It is also extremely volatile and is expected to have at least one supernova explosion in the future. Astronomers are using Chandra to learn more about Eta Carinae through the X-rays it generates. This new Chandra image shows Eta Carinae with low energy X-rays in red, medium energy X-rays in green, and high energy X-rays in blue. The Chandra data are helping to reveal, among other things, how the powerful winds from the two stars in this system interact.

Scale: Image is about 2 arcmin across (about 4.6 light years).

Image credit: NASA/CXC/GSFC/K.Hamaguchi, et al.

Note: For more information, see Eta Carinae: Our Neighboring Superstars.

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