Washington: Scientists have found a jet of high-energy particles erupting from a dying star, which could help explain what happens when stars like the Sun reach the end of their lives.
Chalmers scientists and colleagues from Germany and Australia used the CSIRO Australia Telescope Compact Array, an array of six 22-meter radio telescopes in New South Wales, Australia, to study a star at the end of its life.
The star, known as IRAS 15445-5449, is in the process of becoming a planetary nebula, and lies 23,000 light-years away in the southern constellation Triangulum Australe (the Southern Triangle).
Lead author Andres Perez Sanchez, graduate student in astronomy at Bonn University, said that in their data they found the clear signature of a narrow and extremely energetic jet of a type which has never been seen before in an old, Sun-like star.
The strength of the radio waves of different frequencies from the star match the expected signature for a jet of high-energy particles which are, thanks to strong magnetic fields, accelerated up to speeds close to the speed of light.
Similar jets have been seen in many other types of astronomical object, from newborn stars to supermassive black holes.
Wouter Vlemmings, astronomer at Onsala Space Observatory, Chalmers, said that the star`s brightness indicates that it`s in the process of creating a symmetric nebula around the star.