Thursday, February 9, 2023

WR 40: Epic Wolf-Rayet Star & Its Nebula RCW 58 Unveiled

1:00 AM | , ,

wr 40

Embark on a cosmic journey to a star, boasting a mass 100 times greater than our Sun, a luminosity a million times brighter, and a surface temperature exceeding 30 times that of our home star. These celestial wonders exist, and they're referred to as Wolf Rayet (WR) stars, named in honor of French astronomers Charles Wolf and Georges Rayet.

In the heart of this image, you'll find WR 40, nestled within the bounds of the Carina constellation. Stars of this nature, such as WR 40, experience a rapid lifecycle compared to our Sun. They rapidly deplete their core hydrogen reserve, initiating the fusion of heavier core elements. In the process, they progressively expand, simultaneously discarding their outer layers through intense stellar winds.

The central star in the spotlight, WR 40, propels its atmosphere at blistering speeds of approximately 100 kilometers per second. The expelled outer layers have evolved into the expanding, oval-shaped nebula known as RCW 58.

Image Credit & Copyright: Mike Selby & Mark Hanson

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