NASA's Hubble catches cannibal star digesting companion

The NASA Hubble telescope has captured images of a star cannibalizing a star companion.

NASA's Hubble catches cannibal star digesting companion

World Bulletin / News Desk

Astronomers at NASA have used the Hubble Space Telescope to capture a very rare event: A star, dubbed 'Nasty 1,' devouring a companion star, and producing a giant, pancake-shaped gas disk in the process.

The cannibal star, discovered several decades ago, was called “Nasty 1,” not only because its catalogue name of NaSt1, but also because of its weird behavior.

The NaSt1 star surprised the astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope by having a wide pancake-shaped gas disk of gas, nearly 2 trillion miles wide, encircling it.

The scientists said that the disk may have formed from an unseen companion star that snacked on the outer envelope of Nasty 1.

“We think there is a Wolf-Rayet star buried inside the nebula, and we think the nebula is being created by this mass-transfer process. So this type of sloppy stellar cannibalism actually makes Nasty 1 a rather fitting nickname," study leader Jon Mauerhan, of the University of California, was cited as saying by NASA’s website.

The nebula around Nasty 1 and its companion, located some 3,000 light-years from Earth, is believed to be just a few thousand years old.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Mayıs 2015, 12:26