Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ballistic Stars

So much for Newton's "theory" of fixed-stars and gravity: Hubble Finds Stars That 'Go Ballistic'.

Even some stars go ballistic, racing through interstellar space like bullets and tearing through clouds of gas.

Images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveal 14 young, runaway stars plowing through regions of dense interstellar gas, creating brilliant arrowhead structures and trailing tails of glowing gas. These arrowheads, or bow shocks, form when the stars' powerful stellar winds, streams of matter flowing from the stars, slam into surrounding dense gas. The phenomenon is similar to that seen when a speeding boat pushes through water on a lake.

"We think we have found a new class of bright, high-velocity stellar interlopers," says astronomer Raghvendra Sahai of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and leader of the Hubble study. "Finding these stars is a complete surprise because we were not looking for them. When I first saw the images, I said 'Wow. This is like a bullet speeding through the interstellar medium.' Hubble's sharp 'eye' reveals the structure and shape of these bow shocks."

The astronomers can only estimate the ages, masses, and velocities of these renegade stars. The stars appear to be young— just millions of years old. Their ages are based partly on their strong stellar winds.

Most stars produce powerful winds either when they are very young or very old. Only very massive stars greater than 10 times the Sun's mass have stellar winds throughout their lifetimes. But the objects observed by Hubble are not very massive, because they do not have glowing clouds of ionized gas around them. They are medium-sized stars that are a few to eight times more massive than the Sun. The stars are not old because the shapes of the nebulae around aging, dying stars are very different, and old stars are almost never found near dense interstellar clouds.

Depending on their distance from Earth, the bullet-nosed bow shocks could be 100 billion to a trillion miles wide (the equivalent of 17 to 170 solar system diameters, measured out to Neptune's orbit). The bow shocks indicate that the stars are traveling fast, more than 112,000 miles an hour (more than 180,000 kilometers an hour) with respect to the dense gas they are plowing through, which is roughly five times faster than typical young stars.

"The high-speed stars were likely kicked out of their homes, which were probably massive star clusters," Sahai says.

There are two possible ways this stellar expulsion could have happened. One way is if one star in a binary system exploded as a supernova and the partner got kicked out. Another scenario is a collision between two binary star systems or a binary system and a third star. One or more of these stars could have picked up energy from the interaction and escaped the cluster.

Assuming their youthful phase lasts only a million years and they are moving at roughly 112,000 miles an hour, the stars have traveled about 160 light-years.


Raptor Lewis said...

WOW!! I thought stars were stationary. That is a remarkable discovery. Glad you posted it.

Anaconda said...


("Up, up and away in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon")

SpaceDaily reports that radio waves are much stronger than astronomers anticipated.

NASA Space Balloon Mission Tunes In To Cosmic Radio Mystery, January 8, 2009 (SpaceDaily) -- "Listening to the early universe just got harder. A team led by Alan Kogut of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has just announced the discovery of cosmic radio noise that booms six times louder than expected."

"Surprised" is a common refrain these days among astronomers.

The report goes on:

"The universe really threw us a curve," Kogut says. "Instead of the faint signal we hoped to find, here was this booming noise six times louder than anyone had predicted." Detailed analysis ruled out an origin from primordial stars or from known radio sources, including gas in the outermost halo of our own galaxy. The source of this cosmic radio background remains a mystery."

"The source of this cosmic radio background remains a mystery."


Plasma Cosmology has an answer:

Professor Don Scott has an analysis of the underlying issue posed by x-ray and radio emissions in space:

1. Radio telescopes see radio waves throughout the cosmos.
2. Radio waves need BOTH magnetic and electric fields in order to exist.
3. Magnetic fields need electric currents in order to exist.
4. We can conclude that electric currents and electric fields exist in deep space.
5. Cosmic rays are accelerated ions.
6. What is the easiest way to accelerate an ion?
7. Answer: By letting it fall through a voltage drop (an electric field) or pump it magnetically.
8. Strong electric fields exist in DLs (double layers) in plasma and magnetic pumping can occur in moving (varying) magnetic fields.
9. Grasping at “bow shocks” as a reason for ion acceleration is an evasive refusal to consider anything electrical.

Radio waves are a product of electromagnetic forces.

(Oh, I forgot conventional astronomy denies there are any electomagnetic forces [electric currents] in space at all, stupid me.)

Now, where do I remember "bow shocks" from? Oh, that's right from the copy presented with the pictures in this post.

The above analysis was taken from this article: Another Electrical “Shock” for Astronomers, November 13, 2006 ( -- "Unexpected, highly energetic radio emissions from galaxy cluster Abell 3376 have sparked a curious “debate” among astronomers."

Here is another little gem: A Radio Message from Space, March 9, 2006( -- "Astronomers were perplexed when they found that a “radio galaxy” revealed a structure that such radio sources were never supposed to take: it is a spiral galaxy. The radio signals confirm that the galaxy’s spiraling structure is embedded in vastly larger electric circuits."


"Electrons moving at such velocities emit “synchrotron” radiation, characterized by a frequency significantly higher than the usual radiation of electrons in plasma. This is the radiation that our radio telescopes (such as the VLA) detect as the energetic signature of events not seen in the electromagnetic spectrum of visible light. They are direct witnesses to electric currents on a galactic scale."

So, radio waves six times more powerful than were expected is a mystery for astronomers?

Better talk to Plasma Cosmologists and get straightened out.

Anaconda said...

Maybe astronomers should give up flying balloons...and go fly a kite...

Stuck on...outdated theories:

Geology: 18th century theory

Astronomy: 19th century theory

Mainstream geology stuck of "fossil" theory of oil formation, hypothesized in 1757.

Mainstream astronomy stuck on General Relativity theory, published in 1916, furthering Special Relativity first proposed in 1905 based on 19th century ideas.

Mainstream geology stuck on Uniformitarianism (constant radius Earth) developed in 19th century.

Oh, boy...isn't it the 21st century?

Not if you're stuck on stupid.

OilIsMastery said...

It's funny because it's true....=)