Celestial spiral with a twist

Eso_potw1710a_500

eso_potw1710a March 6th, 2017

Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/H. Kim et al.

Although it looks like the pattern of a shell on the beach, this intriguing spiral is in fact astronomical in nature. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) captured this remarkable image of a binary star system, where two stars LL Pegasi and its companion are locked in a stellar waltz, orbiting around their common centre of gravity. The old star LL Pegasi is continuously losing gaseous material as it evolves into a planetary nebula, and the distinct spiral shape is the imprint made by the stars orbiting in this gas. The spiral spans light-years and winds around with extraordinary regularity. Based on the expansion rate of the spiralling gas, astronomers estimate that a new layer appears every 800 years approximately the same time it takes for the two stars to complete one orbit around each other. LL Pegasi was first highlighted about 10 years ago when the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope obtained a picture of the almost-perfect spiral structure. This was the first time a spiral pattern had been found in material surrounding an old star. Now, ALMAs observations, of which this image only shows one cross-section, have added an extra dimension to reveal the exquisitely-ordered 3D geometry of the spiral pattern. A full view of the 3D video can be seen in this video. An additional image shows a composition of the ALMA and Hubble data. Links: ALMA and Hubble observe LL Pegasi 3D view of LL Pegasi

Image Source: https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1710a/

Curator: European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
LL Pegasi
Subject - Milky Way
Star » Grouping » Binary
Eso_potw1710a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 23h 19m 12.6s
DEC = 17° 11’ 33.1”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
0.3 x 0.3 arcminutes
Constellation
Pegasus

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_orange Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (Band 6) Millimeter (13CO) -
Eso_potw1710a_1280
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ID
potw1710a
Subject Category
B.3.6.1  
Subject Name
LL Pegasi
Credits
ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/H. Kim et al.
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1710a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array
Instrument
Band 6
Color Assignment
Orange
Band
Millimeter
Bandpass
13CO
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
349.802559549, 17.1925195327
Reference Dimension
996.0, 997.0
Reference Pixel
498.0, 498.5
Scale
-5.3779326086630433E-06, 5.3779326086630433E-06
Rotation
-0
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
European Southern Observatory
URL
http://www.eso.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
European Southern Observatory
Publisher ID
eso
Resource ID
potw1710a
Metadata Date
2017-02-23T16:08:23+01:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.