Renegade Star (Zeta Ophiuchi) Rips Through Space.

January 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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Faster than a speeding bullet? More like faster than a supernova-propelled, hot blue supergiant!

In this stunning image fresh from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), a bright star can be seen in the center of the shot. This star is called Zeta Ophiuchi, located 458 light-years from Earth (and 20-times the mass of our sun) in the constellation of Ophiuchus (yes, that Ophiuchus).

Why is Zeta Ophiuchi so special? It’s a runaway star, traveling at a breakneck speed of 87,000 kilometers per hour (or 24 kilometers per second). And how did it get accelerated to that speed? After all, stars don’t just careen around the galaxy — eventually being ejected from the Milky Way all together — for no reason.
The massive Zeta Ophiuchi probably used to have an even larger binary partner that exploded as a supernova.
At the moment of detonation, it’s orbital momentum shot it off into space at high speed.
the star is headed — toward the top-left of the image.

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