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Star produced a ferocious stellar wind.
Pamela Conrad is an astrobiologist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She recently gave a lecture explaining how to searching cold deserts on Earth will help scientists understand environments that life could be hiding in the rest of the Solar System. The following article is the first part of an edited transcript of her presentation.
One of the most famous supernovae in recent memory is SN 1987A, which exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Before its death, the star produced a ferocious stellar wind that carved out a large bubble in the surrounding, colder gas. When it went supernova, a shockwave traveled out in space, and Astronomers have been waiting in anticipation for the shockwave to slam into the edge of this bubble. New images from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory shows that Recent Chandra observations have revealed new details about the fiery ring surrounding the stellar explosion that produced supernova 1987A. The data give insight into the behavior of the doomed star in the years before it exploded, and indicate that the predicted spectacular brightening of the circumstellar ring has begun.
Saturn's rings are separate from the planet they circle, and then even have an atmosphere of their own. During several flybys, Cassini has been able to detect very small amounts of molecular oxygen floating around the rings. Molecules of water are broken apart by ultraviolet light from the Sun; the Hydrogen and some of the oxygen is lost into space, and some of the oxygen is frozen back into the rings. But there's enough of a cloud of these atoms around the rings that this process must be ongoing and kept in a continual balance.
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