Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hot, dense material surrounds O-type star with largest magnetic field known

23.09.2015

Findings have implications on evolution of massive stars

Observations using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory revealed that the unusually large magnetosphere around an O-type star called NGC 1624-2 contains a raging storm of extreme stellar winds and dense plasma that gobbles up X-rays before they can escape into space.


The magnetic field of the O-type star called NGC 1624-2 is unusually large for its class.

Credit: SOHO/[instrument] Consortium. SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

Findings from a team of researchers led by Florida Institute of Technology Assistant Professor Véronique Petit may help scientists better understand the lifecycle of certain massive stars, which are essential for creating metals needed for the formation of other stars and planets.

The findings will be published Sept. 23 in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society from Oxford University Press.

The massive O-type star - the hottest and brightest type of star in the universe - has the largest magnetosphere known in its class. Petit found NGC 1624-2's magnetic field traps gas trying to escape from the star and those gases absorb their own X-rays. The star's powerful stellar winds are three to five times faster and at least 100,000 times denser than our Sun's solar wind. Those winds grapple violently with the magnetic field and the trapped particles create the star's huge aura of hot, very dense plasma.

"The magnetic field isn't letting its stellar wind get away from the star, so you get these big flows that are forced to collide head on at the magnetic equator, creating gas shock-heated to 10 million Kelvin and plenty of X-rays," said Petit, who was part of a team of scientists that discovered the star in 2012. "But the magnetosphere is so large that nearly 80 percent of these X-rays get absorbed before being able to escape into free space and reach the Chandra telescope."

The magnetic field at the surface of NGC 1624-2 is 20,000 times stronger than at the surface of our Sun. If NGC 1624-2 was in the center of our solar system, loops of dense, hot plasma would extend nearly to the orbit of Venus.

Only one in 10 massive stars have a magnetic field. Unlike smaller stars like our sun that generate magnetism with an internal dynamo, magnetic fields in massive stars are "fossils" left over from some event in its early life, perhaps from a collision with another star.

Petit and her team, including Florida Tech graduate student Rebecca MacInnis, will know even more about the NGC 1624-2 in October after getting data back from the Hubble Space Telescope that will explore the dynamics of its trapped wind.

###

Other scientists who contributed to the research were: David Cohen, Swarthmore College; Gregg Wade, Royal Military College of Canada; Yael Nazé, L'Université de Liège; Stanley Owocki, University of Delaware; Jon Sundqvist, University of Delaware; Asif ud-Doula, Penn State Worthington Scranton; Alex Fullerton, Space Telescope Science Institute; Maurice Leutenegger, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and University of Maryland; Marc Gagné, West Chester University.

The paper will be available at midnight Sept. 23 here: http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org/lookup/doi/10.1093/mnras/stv1741

Media Contact

Adam Lowenstein
adam@fit.edu
321-674-8964

http://www.fit.edu 

Adam Lowenstein | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Delaware NGC Space Telescope Telescope X-rays dense escape magnetic field magnetosphere massive stars material

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level
20.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>