When Winds Collide
Astronomers report X-ray
emissions from a region where the
“wind” from two massive stars
compresses the gas. Could
electricity be a better explanation?
Feb 12, 2009
Wind socks, bow shocks, shockwaves and
collisions are often used to describe the phenomena that create
high-frequency electromagnetic radiation in the cosmos. From
gamma rays down through X-rays and extreme ultraviolet,
conventional theories have relied upon gravity and acceleration
as the only way for them to be produced in space. Compression of
hydrogen gas and dust is supposed to create enough transfer of
momentum that it reaches temperatures greater than the cores of
some stars. In other words, it is the high temperature of the
gas that makes it glow so brightly.
The CHANDRA satellite has detected streams of charged material
pouring out of the Crab Nebula, emitting X-rays as they go. It
was long thought that nebular clouds or the expanding gases of
supernova explosions could not be sources of those frequencies,
since the bubbles were supposed to be areas where gases were
losing kinetic energy and cooling off. However, several
“mysterious” observations have called into question the
underlying principles of standard theory.
recent announcement, for example, astronomers have now noted
that the two giant stars in Eta Carinae are blowing off “intense
winds” of such velocity that the collision of the wave fronts
generates X-rays where the shells intersect. This takes place
through kinetic shock even though the researchers acknowledge
that the “wind” is ionized particles. According to researchers,
as electrons bounce back and forth in the magnetic fields they
are accelerated until they collide with low-frequency photons
and give them an energy boost, creating the X-ray emissions.
In previous Picture of the Day articles, we noted that many
structures in the galaxy are active energy sources. Some of them
eject charged matter out from their poles, or leave long braided
tails extending for light-years, or have hourglass shapes
composed of tightly bunched filaments. A more
detailed image of Eta Carinae reveals the distinctive
hourglass shape that results from intense plasma discharges. The
Eta Carinae binary system appears to have a mass 150-times that
of the Sun and to be shining with four-million-times the
brilliance, which indicates the high current density of the
It is well known that one shouldn’t look directly at an electric
arc without eye-protection since the brilliant blue-white light
is also a source of intense ultraviolet light that can damage
the cornea. In the same way, the arc light from Eta Carinae is
so bright that it is generating X-rays powerful enough to be
detected from 7500 light-years. Eta Carinae also erupted with a
flash of visible light, brighter than the Moon, in the 1800s. It
then faded from visibility until 1941 when it slowly began to
brighten to a naked-eye object, where it remains today. The
variability of the binary stars’ behavior can be attributed to
changes in the circuit brought about by the motions of the two
giant stars at the heart of the system.
Eta Carinae, rather than being an example of “billiard ball
physics” and “wind socks” in space is a remarkable confirmation
of the Electric Star hypothesis.
By Stephen Smith
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