‘Lasers’ from Deep-Space Heading to Earth

The two unusual rays appear to show a double star is at the center of the a nebula. Lasers usually become visible when a star is dying.  When stars start to die they become white dwarf stars and emit rays as they shed their outer layers of gas into space, which creates a multi-colored effect that can be seen across the galaxy. Scientists at the European Space Agency detected the lasers, but were unaware where exactly they came from.

But experts believe the recently detected rays indicated a twin star is dying in the heart of the nebula.  Dr Isobel Aleman, who is researching the results, said they detected a rare type of emission.  She added: “When we observe Menzel 3, we see an amazingly intricate structure made up of ionised gas, but we cannot see the object in its centre producing this pattern.  “Thanks to the sensitivity and wide wavelength range of the Herschel observatory, we detected a very rare type of emission called hydrogen recombination line laser emission, which provided a way to reveal the nebula’s structure and physical conditions.”


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