NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed unusual, fast-moving stars may have a major effect on the Milky Way Galaxy when they enter into its atmosphere. Scientists at NASA, which is the department of the American government that deals with space research and astronauts, highlighted an example of Kappa Cassiopeiae. Although the star can be seen with the naked eye in its constellation, its bow shock can only be detected in infrared light.
According to NASA scientists, the star moves at speeds of circa 2.5 million miles per hour. That is the equivalent to 1,100 kilometers per second. To put that into context, it is in stark contrast to the 30 miles per second it takes planet earth to orbit the Sun, one of the atmosphere’s slow stars. Kappa Cassiopeiae, also known as HD 2905, is said to be in the process of creating a shock wave ahead of its path. NASA scientists gave the public an idea of how quickly it is moving when they said the speed would see it move from Boston to Charlotte in a second. The flight time between the two cities is around 100 minutes. The star is invisible to the naked eye from Earth, even on a very clear night. However, it can be spotted with a visual aid, NASA said.
When some of the big, fast stars speed through what looks like a streaky red material, they form structures called “bow shocks”. They are created when magnetic fields in the Milky Way Galaxy and wind coming off of a star clash with the dust particles that sit in the empty void between stars. The way in which the shocks illuminate give astronomers a good indication of the conditions around the star. Bow shocks are not just formed in what NASA calls “massive stars”, they also form in steadier-moving stars that are invisible to the naked eye.
Astronomers claimed that the shock that emanates from Kappa Cassiopeiae was formed as far as four light-years from the star. The astronomers also found what appeared to be a faint green color in the images and said they were formed as a result of the carbon molecules contained in dust clouds, lit up by starlight. It was further claimed by NASA that the red filaments that cross the bow shock could be tracing features of the magnetic field permeating the galaxy. Now NASA has revealed the major effect some fast-moving stars have on the Milky Way Galaxy.
Located in Pasadena, California, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is where the agency manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for its Science Mission Directorate in Washington. However, all scientific operations are carried out at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena.
News of the phenomenon has become a big hit with experts and space enthusiasts following NASA’s decision to put out a press release on its site. Now professionals and enthusiasts alike can see that NASA has revealed the major effect some fast-moving stars have on the Milky Way Galaxy.
By Robert Shepherd