|SH2-71 is a complex bipolar planetary nebula. Its convoluted nature is
probably due to the fact that the central star is a binary system. The overall
luminosity of this nebula is over 1,000 times that of our sun. The gases near
the center are being pushed away from the central star are velocities of
500km/s. The reason that astronomers are confident about the binary nature
of the central star is that its companion eclipses it every 12 hours! In fact,
this companion may actually be close enough to the primary star to permit
gas to fall onto the white dwarf and periodically cause spectacular explosions.
However, in order for these periodic explosions to occur, the gas must accrete
in a disk surrounding the white dwarf and build up for a while. Since the
central star here seems more quiet, many astronomers think that the white
dwarf has a strong magnetic field and the stripped gases fall directly
on the pole of the white dwarf! If this is correct, the system may be
similiar to AM Herculis.
|L R G B color production was used to create this image.||
Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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