MessageToEagle.com - The mystery of a powerful ‘superwind’ which causes the death of stars may be very soon solved.
Sand storms in space have been discovered by astronomers during their observations of the deadly struggle of giant stars
when their atmospheres ripped away by a 'superwind' containing dusty grains of silica.
These grains, unexpectedly large in size for stellar wind particles, measuring almost a micrometre across, were driven
into space by starlight at rocket-velocity speeds of 10 kilometres per second, or 20 thousand miles per hour.
Using the Very Large Telescope in Chile, operated by the European Southern Observatory and some new sophisticated techniques,
an international group of astronomers from the Universities of Manchester, Paris-Diderot, Oxford and Macquarie University,
New South Wales, Australia could look into the atmospheres of distant, dying stars.
Astronomers previously knew that many stars end their lives with a 'superwind' that removes as much as half of their
mass over a period of approximately 10,000 years.
Eventually only a dying and fading remnant of the star is left. Our Sun will begin the same fatal process
in around five billion years after expanding in size to become a red giant.
Super winds were thought to be driven by tiny dust grains, but how the mechanism works has been a mystery.
Computer simulations suggested that the dust grains would evaporate before being ejected by a star. But the new observations
suggest they are big enough to reflect starlight instead of absorbing it, and to avoid being destroyed.
Artist's impression of red giant luminous star
"The dust and sand in the super wind will survive the star and later become part of the clouds in space from which stars form.
"The sand grains at that time become the building blocks of planets. Our own Earth has formed from star dust.
We are now a big step further in understanding this cycle of life and death," Professor Albert Zijlstra, lead scientist
from the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory explained.
The discovery, made by astronomers is reported in the journal Nature.
Mysteries Of The Sun Explained In Video
Are you curious about the Sun? You now have an excellent chance to learn everything you ever wanted, and even more about our Sun and all its mysteries.
Five new videos called "Mysteries of the Sun" have been just released by NASA.
The videos describe the science of the sun and its effects on the solar system and Earth.
Black Holes With No 'Table Manners' Eat Two Courses At Once!
It is still unknown how the supermassive black holes (SMBH) in galaxy centres accrete gas and grow.
Researchers from the University of Leicester (UK) and Monash University in Australia have investigated how some black holes got so big so fast that they are billions of times heavier than the sun.
Something New Spotted On The Sun
One day in the fall of 2011, Neil Sheeley, a solar scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., did what he always does –
look through the daily images of the sun from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
But on this day he saw something he'd never noticed before: a pattern of cells with bright centers and dark boundaries occurring in the sun's atmosphere, the corona...