By Definition
High Definition
Standard Definition
4K UHD
By Length
Full (4-12 min)
Short (1-4 min)
By Date
2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 |
2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 |
2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
By Category
Solar System
Stars
White Dwarfs
Supernovas
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Quasars
Groups of Galaxies
Cosmology/Deep Field
Miscellaneous
HTE
STOP
Space Scoop for Kids!
Chandra Sketches
Light
AstrOlympics
Quick Look
Subscribe
How To
Apple iTunes
RSS Reader
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Chronicle
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
Recent Podcast
A Quick Look at Jupiter's Auroras
A Quick Look at Jupiter's Auroras
A new study using Chandra and XMM-Newton data reveals that the auroras at Jupiter’s poles behave independently. (2017-11-07)


A Tour of R Aquarii

View/Listen
Narrator (April Hobart, CXC): In biology, "symbiosis" refers to two organisms that live close to and interact with one another. Astronomers have long studied a class of stars – called symbiotic stars – that co-exist in a similar way. Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, astronomers are gaining a better understanding of how volatile this close stellar relationship can be.

R Aquarii is one of the best known of the symbiotic stars. Located at a distance of about 710 light years from Earth, its changes in brightness were first noticed with the naked eye almost a thousand years ago. Since then, astronomers have studied this object and determined that R Aqr is not one star, but two: a small, dense white dwarf and a cool red, giant star.

Occasionally, enough material will be pulled from the red giant onto the surface of the white dwarf to trigger thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen. The release of energy from this process can produce a nova, an asymmetric explosion that blows off the outer layers of the star at velocities of ten million miles per hour or more, pumping energy and material into space.

Since shortly after Chandra launched in 1999, astronomers began using the X-ray telescope to monitor the behavior of R Aquarii. Chandra's data have provided new information about the details and timing of the explosions that occur in R Aquarii. Continued close monitoring of R Aquarii with Chandra and other telescopes in the future should give scientists more insight into this unusual stellar system.

Return to Podcasts