XMM and Optical images of S308
Credit: Y-H.Chu and R.A. Gruendl and ESA

Blowing Bubbles, Not Forever

High-mass stars are sometimes referred to as "windy" stars since they have strong stellar winds which blow off their surfaces into interstellar space. The emitted wind material evacuates a "bubble" around the star, and this "bubble" may be observed via a number of techniques. One way to observe these bubbles is by X-ray imaging, since the collision of the wind with the interstellar material is very energetic. A beautiful example is the bubble called S308 around an evolved massive star HD 50896. The image above left is an X-ray image obtained with the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory in which the diffuse X-ray emission inside the bubble is seen projected against a field of nearby stars. On the right, the X-ray image (in blue) is compared to optical emission from the nebula, seen in the specific light emitted by hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:24:07 EDT