Jun 6, 2018

Vela X-1 is plowing its way through the galaxy

Posted by in categories: energy, space

Every now and again you run into an astronomical object where everything about it is mind blowing. And I get to share it with you! Let me introduce you to a binary star that will crush your imagination and make you realize the Universe is way cooler than you knew.

A few million years ago, and 6,000 light years from Earth, two stars were born out of the gas and dust in the galaxy in a cluster with many other stars. These two formed together, so close their mutual and growing gravity bound them together, forcing them to orbit one another. And they grew huge: By the time they switched on and became true stars, they each had more than two dozen times the mass of the Sun.

They were monsters. Huge, hot, and incredibly luminous, each blasting out as much as 100,000 times as much energy as the Sun does. Replace the Sun with one of these beasts and the Earth would evaporate like an ice cube on a scorching hot skillet.

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