Astronomers have solved the mystery of the 16-year-old Blue Ring Nebula

Imagine a small star orbiting our sun,media reported. After a long time, the two stars collided. The chaotic smash left behind a star and a fascinating cloud of blue dust and gas, a nebula. The cloud extends to a distance of about 13 light-years, enough to engulf the 10 solar systems that have piled up side by side. It is understood that such a scenario may have occurred thousands of years ago at TYC 2597-735-1 — a star more than 6,000 light-years from Earth.

Astronomers have solved the mystery of the 16-year-old Blue Ring Nebula

Ever since NASA’s Galaxy Explorer space telescope discovered the star and its fascinating blue ring in 2004, astronomers have wondered how it formed.

Mark Seibert, an astrophysicist at the Carnegie Endegiate Institute of Science, points out: “Every time we think we’ve figured out something, something tells us, ‘No, that’s not right.'” “

Seiber et al. used data from telescope GALEX and a series of other ground and space telescopes to make short legs, which could be a strange phenomenon in the universe caused by a star collision.

GALEX is reported to have been launched in 2003 and used ultraviolet light to study the universe before retiring 10 years later. In 2004, it found an ultraviolet ring around TYC 2597-735-1. To make the cloud more visual, the researchers colored it. The image below shows blue UV light and a fuzzy pink ring around the debris. The bright yellow ball in the middle is TYC 2597-735-1.

Astronomers have solved the mystery of the 16-year-old Blue Ring Nebula

With the help of the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the Paloma Observatory near San Diego, and space telescopes like NASA’s retired Spitzer, researchers were able to establish some facts about the nebula. It is understood that this involves a star about the size of the sun devouring another smaller star in a star merger. The sun-like star began to expand and become large enough to capture smaller stars under its gravity. Because of gravity, the two stars danced together for many years, and as the smaller star got closer, it began to tear apart part of its larger dance partner and form a gas disk that circled the pair. When the smaller star is eventually consumed, a ton of energy passes through the gas disk and pushes it out to form two conical clouds.

Since the Blue Ring Nebula is lying between the Earth, you can see the conical cloud forming a huge ring in the sky. Ultraviolet light is known to be produced by heated hydrogen atoms in cones.

Astronomers are excited about their latest discovery because they captured the merger at the most appropriate time. Don Neill, a research scientist at the California Institute of Technology and co-author of the paper, likened it to the first step in capturing babies. “If you blink, you might miss it, ” he says. This is the first time researchers have seen such a combined system, which is not covered with a large amount of dust, obscuring the star at the center.

Hundreds of thousands of years from now, the Blue Ring Nebula will disappear as if it had never existed.