The Eye of The Cosmos
July 10, 2012 Leave a Comment
The Hubble Space Telescope can capture some very interesting sights deep in outer space. In the telescope’s latest find, we see what looks like a human cornea staring at us from the cosmic abyss. This is in fact one of the last “breaths” of a distant, dying star!
The rings around the burning core of the eye shaped dying star become clearly visible as it burns out. The star is named Camelopardalis, and it is so far away that it would normally appear as a single pixel in an image of this size as shown below.
As stars run low on fuel, they become unstable. Every few thousand years, Camelopardalis coughs out a nearly spherical shell of gas as a layer of helium around its core begins to fuse. The gas ejected in the star’s latest eruption is clearly visible in the picture to the right. It appears as a faint bubble of gas surrounding the star. Camelopardalis is an example of a carbon star, which is a rare star type with an atmosphere that contains more carbon than oxygen. Due to its low surface gravity, as much as half of the total mass of a carbon star may be lost by the way of powerful stellar winds.