Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

A microquasar makes a giant manatee nebula

21.01.2013
A new view of a 20,000-year old supernova remnant demonstrates the upgraded imaging power of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and provides more clues to the history of this giant cloud that resembles a beloved endangered species, the Florida Manatee.

W50 is one of the largest supernova remnants ever viewed by the VLA. At nearly 700 light years across, it covers two degrees on the sky – that's the span of four full Moons!


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory has adopted a new nickname for W50 of "The Manatee Nebula," because the likeness between it and a resting Florida Manatee is too uncanny to ignore. Left: The W50 supernova remnant in radio (green) glows against the infrared background of stars and dust (red). Right: A Florida Manatee rests underwater in Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida.

Credit: Left: NSF's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), NRAO/AUI/NSF, K. Golap, M. Goss; NASA’s Wide Field Survey Explorer (WISE). Right: Tracy Colson

Turbulent History

The enormous W50 cloud formed when a giant star, 18,000 light years away in the constellation of Aquila, exploded as a supernova around twenty thousand years ago, sending its outer gases flying outward in an expanding bubble.

The remaining, gravitationally-crushed relic of that giant star, most likely a black hole, feeds on gas from a very close, companion star. The cannibalized gas collects in a disk around the black hole. The disk and black hole's network of powerful magnetic field lines acts like an enormous railroad system to snag charged particles out of the disk and channel them outward in powerful jets traveling at nearly the speed of light. This system of a black hole and its feeder star shines brightly in both radio waves and X-rays and is known collectively as the SS433 microquasar.

Over time, the microquasar's jets have forced their way through the expanding gases of the W50 bubble, eventually punching bulges outward on either side. The jets also wobble, like an unstable spinning top, and blaze vivid corkscrew patterns across the inflating bulges.

New Namesake

Optically bright astronomical objects, those visible to the eye and optical telescopes, often are nicknamed for their earthly likenesses, such as the Whirlpool Galaxy and Owl Nebula. Invisible W50 comes by its less catchy name by being the 50th radio source listed in the Westerhout Catalog, assembled in 1958 by Dutch astronomer, Gart Westerhout.

When the VLA's giant W50 image reached the NRAO Director's office, Heidi Winter, the Director's Executive Assistant, saw the likeness to a manatee, the endangered marine mammals known as "sea cows" that congregate in warm waters in the southeastern United States.

Florida Manatees are gentle giants that average around 10 feet long, weigh over 1000 pounds, and spend up to eight hours a day grazing on sea plants. They occupy the remainder of their day resting, often on their backs with their flippers crossed over their large bellies, in a pose closely resembling W50.

Dangerous encounters with boat propellers injure many of these curious herbivores, giving them deep, curved scars similar in appearance to the arcs made by the powerful jets on the large W50 remnant.

Thanks to Ms. Winter's suggestion, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory has adopted a new nickname for W50: The Manatee Nebula. In collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the NRAO will unveil the Manatee Nebula to the public during the annual Manatee Festival in Crystal River, Florida on a stage overlooking the largest natural concentration of wintering manatees in the world.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

Tania Burchell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nrao.edu

Further reports about: Astronomy Astronomy Observatory NRAO Observatory VLA black hole nebula optical telescope

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht When helium behaves like a black hole
22.03.2017 | University of Vermont

nachricht Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars
22.03.2017 | International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

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: Gigantische Magnetfelder im Universum

Astronomen aus Bonn und Tautenburg in Thüringen beobachteten mit dem 100-m-Radioteleskop Effelsberg Galaxienhaufen, das sind Ansammlungen von Sternsystemen, heißem Gas und geladenen Teilchen. An den Rändern dieser Galaxienhaufen fanden sie außergewöhnlich geordnete Magnetfelder, die sich über viele Millionen Lichtjahre erstrecken. Sie stellen die größten bekannten Magnetfelder im Universum dar.

Die Ergebnisse werden am 22. März in der Fachzeitschrift „Astronomy & Astrophysics“ veröffentlicht.

Galaxienhaufen sind die größten gravitativ gebundenen Strukturen im Universum, mit einer Ausdehnung von etwa zehn Millionen Lichtjahren. Im Vergleich dazu ist...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Auf der Spur des linearen Ubiquitins

Eine neue Methode ermöglicht es, den Geheimcode linearer Ubiquitin-Ketten zu entschlüsseln. Forscher der Goethe-Universität berichten darüber in der aktuellen Ausgabe von "nature methods", zusammen mit Partnern der Universität Tübingen, der Queen Mary University und des Francis Crick Institute in London.

Ubiquitin ist ein kleines Molekül, das im Körper an andere Proteine angehängt wird und so deren Funktion kontrollieren und verändern kann. Die Anheftung...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Physiker erzeugen gezielt Elektronenwirbel

Einem Team um den Oldenburger Experimentalphysiker Prof. Dr. Matthias Wollenhaupt ist es mithilfe ultrakurzer Laserpulse gelungen, gezielt Elektronenwirbel zu erzeugen und diese dreidimensional abzubilden. Damit haben sie einen komplexen physikalischen Vorgang steuern können: die sogenannte Photoionisation oder Ladungstrennung. Diese gilt als entscheidender Schritt bei der Umwandlung von Licht in elektrischen Strom, beispielsweise in Solarzellen. Die Ergebnisse ihrer experimentellen Arbeit haben die Grundlagenforscher kürzlich in der renommierten Fachzeitschrift „Physical Review Letters“ veröffentlicht.

Das Umwandeln von Licht in elektrischen Strom ist ein ultraschneller Vorgang, dessen Details erstmals Albert Einstein in seinen Studien zum photoelektrischen...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Die „Panama Papers“ aus Programmierersicht

22.03.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Über Raum, Zeit und Materie

22.03.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Unter der Haut

22.03.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Die „Panama Papers“ aus Programmierersicht

22.03.2017 | Veranstaltungsnachrichten

Neues Schiff für die Fischerei- und Meeresforschung

22.03.2017 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Mit voller Kraft auf Erregerjagd

22.03.2017 | Biowissenschaften Chemie