New 3-D-Printed Models of Eta Carinae Reveal Hidden Features

A collection of 3-D-printed models of a new supercomputer simulation tracking the interacting winds of Eta Carinae. In the foreground, the interaction region (left) is seen three months after the stars' closest approach, when newly identified spine-like protrusions form along a cavity created in the primary star's wind. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

A collection of 3-D-printed models of a new supercomputer simulation tracking the interacting winds of Eta Carinae. In the foreground, the interaction region (left) is seen three months after the stars’ closest approach. At this scale, one inch is roughly equal to the size of the Solar System. Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

In the constellation of Carina, lies the most luminous and mysterious star system within 10,000 light-years. The two massive stars, better known as Eta Carinae, erupted twice in the 19th Century for reasons astronomers still don’t understand, and are now approaching the point where one might soon detonate as a supernova.

Astronomers from the 225th meeting of the American Astronomical Society weighed in on this supermassive showoff earlier today. New findings include 3-D printed models that reveal never-before-seen features of the stars’ interactions.

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© Shannon Hall for Universe Today, 2015. |
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