Exploring the Final Frontier Space: five amazing stellar phenomenon
5 great stellar (star) events and objects. Listed here are some of my most favorite phenomena in the cosmos, but certainly not everything awesome about space will be in here, but there will certainly be a lot.
1. Black Holes
What else to kick off the list then the black hole. Black holes are absolutely one of my absolute favorite interstellar phenomena, because of how its concept seems so much like science fiction; a star that collapses in on itself that squishes into an object with infinite density and so much gravity that evenlight cannot escape at certain points. This border of ‘no return’ are called event horizons, after crossing this point even light cannot escape. Because light cannot escape finding black holes using conventional visible light methods. Instead there are a few methods; they can look for accretion disks which are disks of matter that accumulate around black holes while generating immense heat. Astronomers can also look at how nearby stars and objects move around any certain point due to the forces of gravity. The center of the Milky Way for example contains a super massive black hole, and we know this because astronomers observed stars revolving around an ‘empty’ space which is the super-massive black hole.
Here’s an example of detection by accretion disk. (NGC 4261)
Black holes and other high mass object not only trap light from escaping, but they can also bend light forming these distorted images of faraway stars and galaxies also known as Einstein Rings. The process by which high masses (entire galaxies or black holes) bend light is also known as gravitational lensing.
2. Super Nova
Next we move onto another 'death' of a star, but instead of impoding into a singularity with somewhat infinite mass we will watch as a star explodes in one of the greatest acts in the cycle of cosmic life. Supernovas are more powerful than a simple nova, which is the destruction of a white dwarf star. Supernovas are massive stellar explosions that release enormous amounts of energy. These events contain so much energy they can often be expected to radiate more energy than our sun will radiate over its lifetime. The ‘death’ of a star marks the beginning of the new due to a process called “super nova nucleosynthesis”, which is a nuclear process to produce new heavier elements from lighter elements. Like a more powerful version of nuclear fusion which creates heavier elements from lighter elements.
For an example, here is supernova SN 1604. It occurred in the constellation Ophiuchus 20,000 light years away in our Milky Way galaxy. It was first observed in 1604 by Johannes Kepler.
Extra Fun Detail: Sunspots are created by strong magnetic fields and are significantly cooler than the rest of the bright sun. Sunspots can be generally 3,000 degrees Celsius while the surrounding sun would be 5,500 degree Celsius.
3. Gamma-Ray bursts a.k.a. GRB
First detected in 1967 Gamma-ray bursts are massive bursts of, well, gamma rays that depending the kind of burst can either last a short few seconds or perhaps even half a minute. They currently hold the title as the brightest electromagnetic events in the known universe. Unfortunately scientists do not know what exactly causes them but one of the more favorable models is called the collapse model, which describes the bursts as very massive fast rotating starscollapsing into it and forming a black hole. During this process, the star’s matter is sent towards the star’s surface producing a gamma ray burst out of both ends.
Extra Fact: If Earth was to be caught in a gamma ray burst, our atmosphere would burn up in a great flash of light and electromagnetic waves. Most life on Earth would probably perish.
Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars with strong magnetic fields. If the beam is projected at earth, the neutron star will appear to ‘pulse’ hence its name, the same way how lighthouses can only be seen if the beam of light is crossing your view otherwise it would be far more difficult to detect. Because of this, only the pulsars that rotate with us in its view are visible there may be many others that we cannot find with current techniques. Its pulsing frequency can range between a few per second to a few hundred revolutions per second.
Extra Fact: Star-spots are just like sunspots, except they are on other stars.
Lastly but certainly not least, the Aurora, it is certainly one of the most beautiful cosmic wonders. Although auroras do not form around stars, they are however a direct result of solar winds, therefore they will still fit snugly in the article. These beautiful waves of light form when particles from the sun collide with the magnetic field found in the upper atmosphere of our earth. They are truly one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen (on video only unfortunately) but still fantastic nevertheless, but I don’t want to keep your away from seeing these magnificent curtains of charged particles no longer, so I will share a few of my favorite Aurora time-lapses.
That’s from the ground view, but now it’s time to see an extreme bird’s eye view, from the limit of space.
Extra Detail: The auroras are often called the Northern Light, in case you can't properly pronouce auroras (like me).
In addition to the Pulsars section, here is a video of the “sound” being produced by different pulsars. Although sound waves aren’t really being produced by the pulsars, but the radiation given off by them is being converted into sound for us humans to enjoy. In the video the pulsars range from low thumps to the very high buzzing like sounds.
Yeah, everything is just cooler from space. Please leave a comment below if you want more astronomy stuff