A Stellar Destiny

Mar 06
by Harley White

HarelyWhiteAStellarDestiny 800

What is the fate of a star that’s doomed?
Will it a supernova be?
Can into the future we be zoomed
or peek through the Keyhole and see?

Five million times brighter than the Sun,
Eta Carinae, on display,
has star system mass near next to none
in our galaxy Milky Way.

About one hundred seventy years
ago, an outburst huge occurred.
That ‘Great Eruption’ in southern spheres,
the term historians preferred,

somehow left its astral shine intact.
The stubborn star refused to die
from even the giant blast, a fact
that boggled gazers at the sky.

So, what in the heavens’ name went on?
Why did its center not collapse?
Was the scheme sidereal bent on
keeping brilliance alive perhaps?

A cause could have been transfer of mass
from greater to the lesser star
(or triply grouped when it came to pass),
which knocked its gravity ajar.

The energy the shock wave produced
apparently was not enough
to whisk away from its spatial roost
all the outer layers of stuff.

Thus Homunculus Nebula that’s
in the image reveals two lobes
extending from stellar habitats
as if for central region’s robes.

Suffused with pathways of gas and dust
these cloudy zones surround the core,
where later it was supposed there must
be two stars, seen through Keyhole’s door,

whose interactions of winds stellar
during their orbits curious
caused outflows from starry propeller,
binary forces furious.

A dusty veil which is hovering
in front of humanity’s view
(apart from nebula’s covering),
has been shrouding the vista too.

That cloud is bedimming the brightness,
while clarifying what is known
of the parent star’s strength or slightness,
as into space the dust is blown.

Nonetheless, it’s been sadly noted
that Homunculus will be blurred
when its scene is no longer coated
and the nebula gets obscured

by Eta Carinae’s brilliant light.
Then this wonder, pictured dual,
will evanesce from our mortal sight,
no longer a nighttime jewel.

Starry fuel as well will run out
sooner or later, they surmise,
and the glowing vision that’s spun out
will illumine celestial skies.

Hence, when the supernova explodes,
its radiance will be splendid—
a birth of new astro-episodes,
though its present state be ended.

The universal order is change,
Heraclitus famously taught,
a Greek philosopher still in range
of ideas currently thought.

This theorem’s discerned in everything,
from newborn cry to day we die.
With sylvan spring, the swallows take wing,
while years relentlessly go by.

Within the vast empyreal show,
time passes on and on and on,
elapsing into the cosmic flow…
and yet somewhere it’s always dawn.

~ Harley White

* * * * * * * * *

Some sources of inspiration for the poem are the following…

Image and info ~ Astronomy Picture of the Day ~ Doomed Star Eta Carinae…

Video ~ Eta Carinae SuperStar…

Eta Carinae ~ Wikipedia

Eta Carinae is Getting Brighter Because a Dust Cloud was Blocking our View…

Explanation: Eta Carinae may be about to explode, but no one knows when. Its mass, about 100 times greater than our Sun, makes it an excellent candidate for a full-blown supernova. Historical records do show that about 170 years ago Eta Carinae, in the Keyhole Nebula, underwent an unusual outburst that made it one of the brightest stars in the southern sky. Eta Carinae has also had the honor of being one of most luminous stars for over a century and a half. In addition, it has been a scientific curiosity since its giant ejected nebula (Homunculus) contains information about its parent star. It is therefore sad news that within a decade or so, we will no longer be able to see the Homunculus nebula clearly. That was the conclusion reached in a new study by an international team of researchers. According to their findings, the nebula will be obscured by the growing brightness of Eta Carinae itself, which will be ten times brighter by about 2036.

Image ~ Astronomy Picture of the Day ~ Doomed Star Eta Carinae…

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble; Processing & License: Judy Schmidt


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