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Scientists capture 'terrifying' Tolkien-like eclipse

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David Conner's picture
David Conner
User offline. Last seen 2 years 26 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 08/31/2009
Posts: 32

Using Mount Wilson's CHARA array, Scientists have captured a 'terrifying' image of a giant Goliath-like star undergoing a two year eclipse...it is the first close-up image of an eclipse beyond the solar system to be captured on camera by scientists.

For the first time, a team of astronomers has imaged the eclipse of the star Epsilon Aurigae by its mysterious, less luminous companion star. Very high-resolution images, never before possible, have been published online today in the journal Nature Letters. Epsilon Aurigae has been known since 1821 as an eclipsing double star system, but astronomers have struggled for many decades trying to decipher the clues to what was causing these eclipses, which happen every 27 years. The new image largely settles the matter: the eclipse is caused by a disk of material, probably similar to the state of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago as the planets began to form around our own infant sun.

http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=116731&org=NSF&from=news

I find it fascinating that the scientific method can make testable predictions like this, i.e. a disc of material passing front of a star, from light curves and spectra, and then have the prediction confirmed by a totally independent method.

Good stuff!

David Conner. 

jakodir's picture
jakodir
User offline. Last seen 4 years 11 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 04/16/2010
Posts: 1

Amazing! I have always been fascinated with Eclipses

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