NASA is becoming more and more certain of the function within one of the biggest star systems that falls within 10,000 light years of Earth. The star system Eta Carinae consists of two massive stars that erupted and began creating a massive zone filled with stellar gases and much more. The stars within Eta Carinae are massive compared to the sun, and really make anything that we’re currently used to seem insignificantly small. In fact, scientists believe that one could fit as many as ten suns within the massive Eta Carinae system.
The 3D imaging though shows a mass that is actually quite intricate with some of the most spectacular processes taking place within the star system. “We are coming to understand the present state and complex environment of this remarkable object, but we have a long way to go to explain Eta Carinae’s past eruptions or to predict it’s future behavior,” said astrophysicist Ted Gull.
The two stars orbit and actually get to just 140 million miles apart, but that only happens once every five years – and ultimately this is an example of the impressiveness that this star system brings to the table. The mass of the primary star within the system is nearly 30 times that of the sun in our solar system, and ultimately shows the sheer size of what is going on within the system.
The next close encounter between the stars – that will lend to determining the accuracy of the model that scientists have created. “Both of the massive stars of Eta Carinae may one day end their lives in supernova explosions. For stars, mass is destiny, and what will determine their ultimate fate is how much matter they can lose – through stellar winds or as-yet-inexplicable eruptions – before they run out of fuel and collapse under their weight,” according to NASA.
Ultimately, the next several years will be very telling for the star system as well as the future of the star system. The 3D model may shed light on how the star system functions – it does little to explain the raw volatility that is taking place in the system.