APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

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APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by APOD Robot » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:11 am

Image AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula

Explanation: Is star AE Aurigae on fire? No. Even though AE Aurigae is named the flaming star, the surrounding nebula IC 405 is named the Flaming Star Nebula, and the region shape gives the appearance of fire, there is no fire. Fire, typically defined as the rapid molecular acquisition of oxygen, happens only when sufficient oxygen is present and is not important in such high-energy, low-oxygen environments such as stars. The material that appears as smoke is mostly interstellar hydrogen, but does contain smoke-like dark filaments of carbon-rich dust grains. The bright star AE Aurigae, visible just to the lower right of the image center, is so hot it glows blue, emitting light so energetic it knocks electrons away from surrounding gas. When a proton recaptures an electron, light is emitted, as seen in the surrounding emission nebula. Featured here, the Flaming Star nebula lies about 1,500 light years distant, spans about 5 light years, and is visible with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Charioteer (Auriga).

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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by neufer » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:20 am

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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by Boomer12k » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:57 am

Awesome Image of colors...with billowing areas of dust I assume poking through...

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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by Ann » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:05 am

Pretty useless as a comment on the Flaming Star Nebula, or as a comment on any "flaming star", Art.

I like the portrait of the nebula in the APOD, if not so much the portrait of the Flaming Star itself, AE Aurigae (it is rather too yellow).

But the nebula is fine. Note the long, smooth red "tail" at left. I didn't check the tecnichal description of the picture, but the tail may be low-level Hα. Note how the central part of the nebula is much more turbulent and also brighter and more pink in color, possibly because it also contains a touch of OIII. The turbulence suggests to me that the nebula has been directly affected not only by energetic photons from AE Aurigae, but also from the star's rapid motion through the cloud of gas and dust. The red tail, by contrast, would only be affected by energetic photons that have reached it.

Note the blue patches of the nebula. Those are embedded reflection nebulas, where dust reflects the blue light from the hot star.

AE Aurigae is moving so rapidly because it is a runaway star. It was born near the Orion Nebula, probably as a member of a binary star, but it got kicked out of its birthplace due to gravitational interactions with another binary star (bright Iota Orionis?) and now AE Aurigae is rushing at a breakneck pace through the heavens. Look out! You wouldn't want to collide with it.

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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by De58te » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:45 am

I think the comment is great. Even children can understand it. Fire needs a good supply of oxygen or else it would suffocate and there is very little supply in space. I suppose a similar lack of oxygen would mean that the horse head nebula isn't really a real horse head, and that the dog star isn't really a real dog , because lack of oxygen.

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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by orin stepanek » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:04 pm

Pretty to look at; too big to hold; there isn't enough money; to mark it sold! :lol2: 8-)
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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by hdutton@bellsouth.net » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:07 pm

I could not help but notice several dark points in various places it this picture. they seem far to big to be planets, but are associated with many smaller stars. I am assuming they are camera artifacts, but being dark, this seemed odd to me. Has anyone else noticed them or is it something in my monitor screen which makes them appear ?

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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by neufer » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:02 pm

Ann wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:05 am

Pretty useless as a comment on the Flaming Star Nebula, or as a comment on any "flaming star", Art.
At least I provide a three dimensional view so that it is clear Watt lies behind.
Last edited by neufer on Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:04 pm

De58te wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:45 am
I think the comment is great. Even children can understand it. Fire needs a good supply of oxygen or else it would suffocate and there is very little supply in space. I suppose a similar lack of oxygen would mean that the horse head nebula isn't really a real horse head, and that the dog star isn't really a real dog , because lack of oxygen.
What? Lack of oxygen isn't the reason things look the way they do in space. "By mass, oxygen is the third-most abundant element in the universe, after hydrogen and helium," quoting Wikipedia. Temperature is the reason things aren't on fire (usually) in space. Plasma is too hot for fire!

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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by neufer » Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:26 pm

BDanielMayfield wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:04 pm
De58te wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:45 am

I think the comment is great. Even children can understand it. Fire needs a good supply of oxygen or else it would suffocate and there is very little supply in space. I suppose a similar lack of oxygen would mean that the horse head nebula isn't really a real horse head, and that the dog star isn't really a real dog , because lack of oxygen.
What? Lack of oxygen isn't the reason things look the way they do in space. "By mass, oxygen is the third-most abundant element in the universe, after hydrogen and helium," quoting Wikipedia. Temperature is the reason things aren't on fire (usually) in space. Plasma is too hot for fire!
  • "By mass, oxygen is the third-most abundant element in the universe" :?:

    There are ~2,000 hydrogen atoms to every oxygen atom in space
    ... if that is flammable I'd avoid traveling by Zeppelin in the future.

    Plasma is, indeed, too hot for fire... but also:

    there is very little free oxygen in space and lots & lots of water
    ...not a great environment for fire.
https://tinyurl.com/yx9a522l wrote:
There are enormous amounts of water in space. In fact, nearly all of the oxygen in space is in the form of water or carbon monoxide. Similarly, most the carbon and nitrogen in space are also in their most hydrogenated forms: methane (CH4) and ammonia (NH3).
https://science.nasa.gov/ae-aurigae-and-flaming-star-nebula wrote:
<<Why is AE Aurigae called the flaming star? For one reason, the surrounding nebula IC 405 is named the Flaming Star Nebula because the region seems to harbor smoke, even though nothing is on fire, including interior star AE Aurigae. Fire, typically defined as the rapid molecular acquisition of oxygen, happens only when sufficient oxygen is present and is not important in such high-energy, low-oxygen environments. The material that appears as smoke is mostly interstellar hydrogen, but does contain smoke-like dark filaments of carbon-rich dust grains. The bright star AE Aurigae is visible near the nebula center and is so hot it is blue, emitting light so energetic it knocks electrons away from atoms in the surrounding gas. When an atom recaptures an electron, light is emitted creating the surrounding emission nebula.>>
https://www.astrobio.net/cosmic-evolution/cold-clouds-and-water-in-space/ wrote:
Cold Clouds and Water in Space
By Astrobiology Magazine - Jun 4, 2001

<<Astronomers have known for decades that there is a lot of water in space. Hydrogen is the most common element in the Universe, and oxygen is made in stars and dispersed by events such as supernova explosions. The two elements mix in star-forming clouds and form large amounts of water (H2O). But because astronomers couldn"t measure gaseous water in cold clouds in space, they couldn"t be sure of the exact amount of water in those regions. "We"ve known for a long time that there is a lot of water ice out there," says Louis Allamandola, astrochemist for the NASA Ames Research Center and member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). "We also knew some water existed in the form of a gas, but we weren"t sure how much."

Spanish and Italian astronomers have now determined how much of the water in cold regions of space is in gaseous form and how much is frozen. By doing so, they have been able to measure the total amount of water in the cold regions. The team found that 99 percent of the water in cold clouds is ice condensed on cold dust grains, while only 1 percent is in gaseous form.

The mean temperature of the water in these cold regions is 10 K. This has been a limitation when searching for all the water available in the clouds: The "solid" water, or ice, in cold regions is detected relatively easily from telescopes on Earth, but the signature of water vapor is hidden by the water vapor in our atmosphere. The water vapor in the cold clouds also does not emit radiation detectable by telescopes because of the low temperature and density of the clouds. To look beyond the Earth"s water vapor, the team used data from the space telescope ISO, the European Space Agency"s Infrared Space Observatory. They knew that if light from a far-away object passed through some water vapor on its way to Earth, the water vapor would leave a chemical "fingerprint" on that light. Astronomers decided to search for this fingerprint in light from two regions in the galactic center that passes through several cold clouds on its way to Earth.

By analyzing data stored in the ISO Archive, Italian astronomer Andrea Moneti and his colleagues found that cold regions have as much total water (ice plus vapor) as warmer regions where stars are actively forming. Some hypotheses had suggested that water molecules were best preserved by processes happening exclusively in warm clouds. This ISO finding therefore gives new insights into the question of how water is formed and preserved in space.

As Moneti explains, "in cold regions you expect to find most of the water forming ices because water vapor condenses on cold dust grains, much as it does on car roofs and windows in the winter. In warmer regions, on the contrary, the stars heat the environment and the ice on the dust grains evaporates – as when the Sun makes the frost evaporate off your car. So the rule is: the colder the cloud, the less water vapor. But we expected that there had to be at least some water vapor in quiescent clouds, only it had not been detected."

These regions are called "quiescent" or "cold" clouds because there are no stars forming within these zones, and they therefore lack strong internal heat sources. Astronomers estimate that there are millions of cold clouds in the Milky Way. "Another name for these cold regions is dense molecular clouds, says Allamandola. "If you look into the night sky at the Milky Way, these clouds look like dark patches where there doesn"t appear to be anything. Actually, these clouds contain tiny dust particles that block the background starlight. The interstellar medium is generally very cold, but these clouds are even colder because of the blocked starlight."

The clouds form because of elements thrown off by evolving stars, says Allamandola. "The stars give off some of their heavy elements in the form of fine particles ‘ about the size of particles from cigarette smoke ‘ and once these particles are in interstellar space they form the dust. The dust particles probably form into these clouds through a combination of factors, such as gravitational forces and shock waves."

The cold clouds are the future birthplaces of low-mass stars like the Sun, and solar systems like our own. Thus, this research has implications for the study of newborn planetary systems, since the water vapor and ices in the clouds may end up in gaseous planets, planetary atmospheres and solid bodies like comets. Although the role of water in the formation of planets and comets is not yet fully understood, a simplified description is that some of the ice remains unprocessed and ends up in comets, while some of the ice turns into vapor and is used to make planetary atmospheres and gaseous planets."
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by Fred the Cat » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:57 am

Astrophotography is a process. Are the diffraction spikes in this image just so lengthened that they form grid patterns - lining up so evenly?

Coincidence or a new trend :?: I'm not so sure it isn't a diffraction distraction. :?
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Re: APOD: AE Aurigae and the Flaming Star Nebula (2019 Mar 26)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:41 am

Fred the Cat wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:57 am
Astrophotography is a process. Are the diffraction spikes in this image just so lengthened that they form grid patterns - lining up so evenly?

Coincidence or a new trend :?: I'm not so sure it isn't a diffraction distraction. :?
Distraction, indeed. They're faked... one of the stupidest processing decisions an astroimager can make, and one that severely detracts from an otherwise excellent image. (All the worse given that the tool used to synthesize them doesn't even do a very good job of it.)
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