National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Gone with the Stellar Wind


Gone with the Stellar Wind

This shows the distribution of the gas cloud around the old stellar system Mira. Mira is a binary star system where a star nearing the end of its life and a white dwarf (the remains of a star which has already finished its life) orbit around each other. Gas is spewing out from each of them (this is known as stellar wind). Gas flows leisurely out of the late type star; in contrast the stellar wind flows out from the white dwarf at high speed. This difference in the speed of the gas creates an extremely intricate shape in the gas cloud around Mira. By investigating the shape of this gas cloud, we can trace the history of the gas outflow which has occurred in Mira.

For more details, please refer to, “Seeing into the Heart of Mira A and its Partner.”

Text by: Masaaki Hiramatsu (NAOJ Chile Observatory / Public Relations Center)
Translation by: Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)