Time for something really worth reading about and that is V838 Monocerotis. You say you’ve never heard of it? Well, you probably haven’t, unless you are a serious astronomer, although you may recognize the picture.
Some of you who are conspiracists, will say this is Nibiru or Planet X, a planet that is coming towards us and will impact the earth in 2012, ending all life. Sorry, not a planet, but it is a star, however, it’s not moving towards us. And Nibiru is suppose to be a brown dwarf star…this is said to be a red giant star. If there is a Nibiru, this isn’t it. [And no don’t leave me links of the supposed Nibiru shots taken from Antarctica, those have been debunked as fake.] And this post didn’t start out as a conspiracy debunker if you will, but hey, while I’m on the topic, why not?
V838 is a star, a variable star to be exact. This means that it’s apparent brightness as seen from Earth changes over time for various reasons. Its located about 20,000 light years from our Sun, and something strange has happened to it starting in early 2002.
The picture above is actually a 1651x1651 HD picture of the star. It’s really something to look at.
Originally, it was believed to be a typical nova eruption. A nova eruption is a nuclear explosion caused by accretion of hydrogen onto the surface of a white dwarf star.
However, over time, it was then realized to be something completely different. Usually during a nova, a star ejects its outer layers and a hot core is exposed and the star dims. This is not what ultimately happened.
V838 did start to dim, as expected however, then the star began to brighten again and ultimately returned to its original brightness and then brightened to 600,000 times its initial intensity and briefly outshown all others in the Milky Way Galaxy.
What is additionally odd about it, is that it isn’t hot and eruptive in the manner of a supernova or nova. Instead, it remains cool at its surface, in comparison to others in the “star world”.
And the reason or understanding for the outburst is still unknown. There are some theories to what happened, including “planet swallowing”, but the truth is, no one knows.
The planet itself suddenly grew so large that if placed in the center of our solar system, it would engulf Jupiter.
What you see above is a time sequence of Hubble Space Telescope images of the light echo around V838 Mon, taken between May 2002 and October 2004. In these pictures, V838 grows from 4 to 7 light-years. Dust is expanding at 223,700 mph.
What you see above here are a continuation of the evolution of the light echo around the star. These were taken in 2005 and 2006. The picture above can be viewed in a 1280x905 size. Larger sizes are available on the European Homepage for the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
Below is an animation of the morph between a number of Hubble images, showing the light echoes expanding around the stars. It’s pretty incredible.
And just in another comparison of size, the image below is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Starting in late 2003, astronomers pointed Hubble at a tiny, relatively empty part of our sky, and created an exposure nearly 12 days long over a four-month period. This is the result. At least ten thousand galaxies are in this picture that range from 1 to 13 billion light-years away from earth. To put this all in perspective, the tip of a pen is about 1 millimeter wide, and at arm’s length pointed towards the night sky, it would cover the 10,000 galaxies seen in the Ultra Deep Field. Yet we as a civilization seem to think we are the best, brightest, smartest and only people in the entire universe. Are we as a civilization, based upon our history, really befitting of being held in that high regard or ourselves?
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