Mira, A Shooting Star

Astronomy Science ~ Astronomers using NASA's space Galaxy Evolution Explorer telescope, have seen a long tail like a comet behind a sta...

Astronomy Science ~ Astronomers using NASA's space Galaxy Evolution Explorer telescope, have seen a long tail like a comet behind a star streaking through space. The star named Mira, from the Latin word for "beautiful". This star has been a favorite of astronomers around 400 years, but this is the first time tail visible.

Galaxy Evolution Explorer, or "GALEX" this famous star is observed during the ongoing survey of the entire sky in ultraviolet light. Astronomers then noticed what looked like a giant comet tail behind. In fact, material blowing from Mira has 13 light-years long, or about 20,000 times the average distance of Pluto from the sun.

"I was surprised when I first saw this unexpected object, a tail that stretches behind the well-known star," said Christopher Martin of the California Institute of Technology. "It's amazing how Mira's tail stretching." Martin is the principal investigator for the Galaxy Evolution Explorer mission and lead author of a paper announcing the discovery in the journal of Nature.
Mira (/ maɪrə /, also known as Omicron Ceti, ο Ceti, ο Cet) is a red giant star that is 350 light-years estimated in the Cetus constellation. Mira is a binary star, consisting of a red giant Mira A and a white dwarf star Mira B. Mira A has a mass 1.18 times the mass of the Sun and has a radius of 332-402 times greater than our sun. It has a brightness 8400-9360 brighter than our sun and its surface temperature of about 2918 to 3192 Kelvin.

Mira's tail stretches 13 light years
Astronomers say Mira's tail offers a unique opportunity to study how stars like our sun die and ultimately became the seed of new solar systems. Mira is an old star called a red giant that is losing large amounts of surface material. Mira hurtling in space, tail emit carbon, oxygen and other important elements needed for the formation of new stars, planets and possibly even life formation.

"This is a phenomenon that is completely new to us, and we are still in the process to learn it," said co-author Mark Seibert of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Pasadena. "We hope to be able to read Mira's tail like a ribbon in order to be able to learn about the star's life."

Billions of years ago, Mira similar to our sun. Over time, it began to swell into what's called a variable red giant pulsating star, the star periodically swells and grows bright enough to be seen with the eye. Mira will eventually eject all of the remaining gas into space, forming a colorful shell called a planetary nebula. The nebula will fade with time, leaving only the burnt-out core of the original star, which is then called a white dwarf.

Compared to other red giants, Mira traveling unusually fast, possibly because it is pulled by the gravity of another star passing by from time to time. Now this star drove 130 kilometers per second, or 291,000 miles per hour.

Mira Star race with a star much smaller companion regarded as a white dwarf. Mira is a binary star formation with Mira A (the red giant) and Mira B (the white dwarf), they orbit slowly around each other as they travel together through the Cetus constellation, is located 350 light years from Earth.

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AstroNation: Mira, A Shooting Star
Mira, A Shooting Star
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