BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The Hubble Telescope managed to capture giant plasma cannonballs that seem to originate from a dying star. Researchers believe that the planet-size plasma balls come either from the red star or from a companion star that created a mass reaction with the red giant.
A star usually goes from a planetary nebula, to a white star, a yellow star, and a red giant. In the final stage, the sun becomes more unstable as it creates less light while its internal temperature rises significantly.
When the researchers first saw the plasma balls, they believed that they were created by the unstable, dying star. However, after closer examination, they observed that the plasma cannonballs were ejected once every eight and a half years, at the same time in which a rogue companion star reaches the vicinity of the V Hydrae star.
The new theory states that the companion has an elliptical orbit that takes it near V Hydrae once every 8.5 years. When the first comes in contact with the atmosphere of the latter, it releases some of its content, that later settles into a disk around the companion, the surface then doubling as a launching pad for the plasma cannonballs.
NASA officials also believe that if they manage to find the origin of the plasma balls, they will also be able to explain some other strange occurrences spotted in the gas clouds that surround dying stars.
The plasma balls are more than twice the size of Mars, and their temperature reaches levels twice as higher as those of our sun. Moreover, they travel at extreme speeds, one ball being able to travel the distance between the Earth and the Moon in less than half an hour. By comparison, it took three days, three hours, and forty-nine minutes for Armstrong and Aldrin to reach our satellite during the Apollo mission.
Another interesting observation made by NASA scientists is the fact that the plasma cannonballs are not always ejected in the same direction, meaning that the rogue sun has an elliptical, yet chaotic orbit.
A more comprehensive study on the matter was published this week in the Astrophysical Journal.
Image source: Wikipedia