NASA’s NuSTAR space telescope made new observations on the super-bright star system Eta Carinae and noticed that Eta Carinae generates massive cosmic radiations, and some of them even reach Earth.
The astronomers presume that Eta Carinae, which is the brightest star system within 10,000 light-years away from Earth, can accelerate the cosmic particles to velocities close to the speed of light. Also, scientists already found out that cosmic rays hit the Earth’s magnetosphere, but since the magnetic shield is dissipating the rays, it is challenging to track their origins.
Eta Carinae is a binary system of massive stars
Eta Carinae is made of two massive stars, one with a mass of 90 times larger than our Sun, and another with 30 solar masses. Also, once every 5.5 years, due to the eccentric orbits they follow, the two stars pass at only 140 million miles of each other.
“Both of Eta Carinae stars drive powerful outflows called stellar winds. Where these winds clash changes during the orbital cycle, which produces a periodic signal in low-energy X-rays we’ve been tracking for more than two decades,” stated Michael Corcoran from the NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Eta Carinae binary star system sends cosmic radiations towards Earth
Before, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope noticed that Eta Carinae emits a high-energy gamma-ray signature, but, as the observations were not very accurate, scientists made no clear link between these radiations and the before-mentioned binary star system.
Now, however, NASA’s NuSTAR space telescope, which is capable of detecting X-ray emissions better than the previous similar telescopes, detected high-energy X-ray emissions coming from the two massive stars of Eta Carinae binary star system. According to the readings, some of those X-ray emissions were about 30,000 electron Volts, which is huge given the fact that the visible light’ energy is between 2 and 3 electron Volts.
According to the latest observations, Eta Carinae stars emits cosmic radiations that can escape their system, while some of these X-ray and gamma-ray emissions can even reach Earth.
Until NuSTAR was able to pinpoint the radiation and show it comes from the Eta Carinae binary star system, the origin of those emissions was mysterious, as said Fiona Harrison, a professor at Caltech and a researcher at NASA’s NuSTAR.