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Dragon’s Egg Nebula UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • The nebula NGC 6164/6165, also known as the Dragon’s Egg, a cloud of gas and dust surrounding a pair of stars called HD 148937, taken with the VLT Survey Telescope hosted at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Cerro Paranal, Chile, have presented a puzzle to astronomers

  • One of the two large stars residing inside Dragon's Egg has a magnetic field, as does our sun. Its companion does not. 

  • And such massive stars are not usually associated with nebulae.

  • Relatively few massive stars that are magnetic got that way because of stellar fratricide

  • In this case, the bigger star apparently gobbled up a smaller sibling star, and the mixing of their stellar material during this hostile takeover created a magnetic field

  • These two stars - gravitationally bound to each other in what is called a binary system - are located in our Milky Way galaxy about 3,700 light-years from Earth in the constellation Norma. 

    • A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).

  • The magnetic star is about 30 times more massive than the sun and its remaining companion is about 26.5 times more massive than the sun

  • They orbit at a distance from each other varying from seven to 60 times the distance between Earth and the sun.

  • The Dragon's Egg is so named because it is located relatively near a larger nebula complex called the Fighting Dragons of Ara

  • The stars inside the Dragon's Egg appear to have started out 4-6 million years ago as a triple system - three stars born at the same time and gravitationally bound.

  • The triple system's two innermost members included a larger star - perhaps 25 to 30 times the mass of the sun - and a smaller one - maybe five to 10 times the sun's mass.

  • The more massive one evolved more quickly than the other, with its outer layer engulfing the smaller star and triggering a merger that ejected into space the gas and dust that make up the nebula

  • This occurred very recently in a cosmic time scale - about 7,500 years ago, based on the expansion velocity of the material in the nebula. 

  • It consists of mostly hydrogen and helium, but also an unusually large amount of nitrogen, after the merger

  • About 7% of massive stars are known to have a magnetic field. 

  • Stellar magnetic fields store immense amounts of energy. 

  • The sun's magnetic storms can interact with Earth's atmosphere and create our planet's thrilling auroras, but also can disrupt radio signals and navigation systems.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Dragon’s Egg Nebula UPSC NOTE
Dragon’s Egg Nebula UPSC NOTE
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