Massive Stellar Winds Are Made Of Tiny Pieces


ESA’s XMM-Newton space observatory has completed the most detailed study ever of the fierce wind from a giant star, showing for the first time that it is not a uniform breeze but is fragmented into hundreds of thousands of pieces.

Massive stars are relatively rare, but play a very important role in recycling materials in the Universe. They burn their nuclear fuel much more rapidly than stars like the Sun, living only for millions of years before exploding as a supernova and returning most of their matter to space.

But even during their brief lives, they lose a significant fraction of their mass through fierce winds of gas driven off their surfaces by the intense light emitted from the star. The winds from massive stars are at least a hundred million times stronger than the solar wind emitted by our own Sun and can significantly shape their surrounding environment.

Full Story: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Massive_stellar_winds_are_made_of_tiny_pieces

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