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HubbleSite Magnetic Fields Weave Rings Around Stars

  • Thread starter Space Telescope Science
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Space Telescope Science

There are stars with planets. Stars with companion stars. Stars with pancake-shaped disks of rocky debris. But how about young, hot, hefty stars embedded in large inner tube-shaped clouds of shimmering gas? Astronomers had suspected that the thick rings are the signatures of stars with strong magnetic fields. Sometimes, the surfaces of those "magnetic stars" possess peculiar chemical compositions, namely low amounts of "heavy elements" like iron. Now a team of astronomers analyzing archival information on four stars provides convincing evidence of the link between rings and magnetic fields. The team also suggests that rings around massive stars are more common than scientists thought. The study shows that magnetic stars with normal chemical abundances can have rings, too.

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