Astronomers Capture "Screams" Of Star-Eating Zombies

Astronomers Capture "Screams" Of Star-Eating Zombies

NASA's NuSTAR telescope has uncovered possible evidence that "zombie" stars in our galactic center are devouring the living.

Space is a beautiful yet terrifying place, and our observations continue to prove that fact. Stars are a great example - our own sun warms the planet, allows life to thrive, and is generally a fantastic presence in our system. But NASA is getting a very different picture from our galactic core, where NuSTAR telescope images are finding bizarre high-energy X-rays. Although scientists don't have a clear explanation for the phenomenon, one theory keeps cropping up - these are the "howls" of zombie stars devouring their neighbors.

The center of our galaxy is a hectic place, where young stars, old stars, black holes, and "other varieties of stellar corpses" - NASA's words, not ours - orbit a supermassive black hole. It's a region we're only just starting to understand thanks to NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array), the first telescope capable to taking crisp images of the chaos. What it found was a sector 40-light years long with unusual X-rays that overwhelm the usual stellar activity.

"Almost anything that can emit X-rays is in the galactic center," Kerstin Perez of Columbia University in New York explained. "The area is crowded with low-energy X-ray sources, but their emission is very faint when you examine it at the energies that NuSTAR observes, so the new signal stands out."

So where do the zombie stars fit in? In short, stars don't always die peacefully in a senior solar home surrounded by loved ones. Sometimes collapsed dead stars can reach out and siphon energy from other stars, especially when attached to a binary system. This "feeding" process will vary from star to star, but one possible effect are bursts of X-rays.

Even if these X-rays aren't generated by hydrogen-hungry zombies, that doesn't mean the stars producing them are alive... so to speak. Pulsars and white dwarfs are other examples of stars that emit energy long after giving up the ghost. But what's fascinating is that no one theory for these galactic center X-rays fit our previous research, leaving astronomers in the dark. "This new result just reminds us that the galactic center is a bizarre place," said Columbia University's Chuck Hailey. "In the same way people behave differently walking on the street instead of jammed on a crowded rush hour subway, stellar objects exhibit weird behavior when crammed in close quarters near the supermassive black hole."

What do you think is emitting these X-rays? Zombie stars? Galactus? The "God" of Star Trek V: Final Frontier? Your guess is as good as any astronomers at this point, so feel free to post suggestions in the comments.

Source: NASA

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This is the most metal thing I have ever heard

Devin Barker:
This is the most metal thing I have ever heard

Yes. Someone make a symphonic metal band called Screams of Star Eating Zombies.

OT: Are there any of these things near (relatively) our solar system, or are these confined to the galactic core? Because anything that shoots off that many X-rays sounds like bad news.

Oh great, just what we needed, the god damn Necrons.

Quick everyone, wraithbone them!

oh hi Galactus, knew you were out there somewheree.

Devin Barker:
This is the most metal thing I have ever heard

image

Azathoth having a rave and xray light show.

Versuvius:
Azathoth having a rave and xray light show.

In his own freaking body?! Fucking blind idiot god lives up to its name I guess.

OT So the C'tan do exist...kinda. Either way the prospect is rather terrifying the more I think about it, but at the same time I can't help but love how fucking metal that is.

Fanghawk:
But what's fascinating is that no one theory for these galactic center X-rays fit wour previous research

Wour... indeed.

That does sound pretty cool though. Both understanding the universe a bit more (in theory) and gigantic intergalactic space zombies.

So, like...the giant moon Nercomorphs from Dead Space, except stars?

There are some things in the universe that I think we'll never understand, and they terrify me. I can't even begin to wrap my head around stuff like this.

I love what they are going for, but that is the single most reaching nick name I have ever seen.

It's almost like a big eye in the galaxy, and of course it's a very chaos-filled environment.

Baresark:
I love what they are going for, but that is the single most reaching nick name I have ever seen.

Zombies are the in thing right now so might as well find a way on the bandwagon.

OT: I just hope there are no rogue variants of these. The thought of rogue stars, planets, black holes coming to visit is scary enough.

A scream of a star, you say?

image

Gearhead mk2:

Devin Barker:
This is the most metal thing I have ever heard

Yes. Someone make a symphonic metal band called Screams of Star Eating Zombies.

Surely a death or black metal band would be more appropriate.

OT: Glad I don't live near the galactic core. Not that I could, being a fleshy human. Still, I wouldn't mind getting a look at ( what i assume would be) the false-color images of that event.

I guess I'm even weirder than I thought in this company. The first though I had here is that we've discovered this and will learn all about it given time. One day humanity will understand and master the insanity of screaming zombie stars, and walk safely through a region so inherently massive and frightening to our current state of being. It's a microstep but it's already sort of happening before we even get off our planet. Just think, one day when space ships carrying people casually through this kind of thing which has become old hat exist, what kinds of phenomena will then be equally far ahead of us and inspire our distant imaginations until one day we understand and master them enough to thrive.

See, I don't think anything is truly beyond humanity in the big picture, as far beyond us as it might seem right now. At least not as far as science and the physical world is concerned. I even feel to some extent this can apply to theoretical metaphysics.

If we don't somehow manage to kill ourselves on our planetary crib, one day we will make zombie stars our bitch. :)

CharrHearted:
Oh great, just what we needed, the god damn Necrons.

Quick everyone, wraithbone them!

Meh, you guys lost the last war and you'll lose this one too! >:D

OT: Well... that has to be the most bad ass metal thing I've heard all day long. And the writer is right, space is awesome but so nightmarish it makes me want to hide under my bed.

Almost sounds to me like we got ourselves a Space-Cthulu in the galaxy....

.....guys, I think I'm scared.

So mined out star regions last week explained by discovering a miner this week.

"Its aliens i tell you!"

Grouchy Imp:
A scream of a star, you say?

image

Lol, good one!
Down with Megatron, all hail Starscream!!!!

Gearhead mk2:

Devin Barker:
This is the most metal thing I have ever heard

Yes. Someone make a symphonic metal band called Screams of Star Eating Zombies.

OT: Are there any of these things near (relatively) our solar system, or are these confined to the galactic core? Because anything that shoots off that many X-rays sounds like bad news.

Neutron stars etc occur all over the galaxy, there was a doc drama about what would happen if one entered our solar system and how we may escape it. I'll get the link when I'm home.

Ironman126:

Gearhead mk2:

Devin Barker:
This is the most metal thing I have ever heard

Yes. Someone make a symphonic metal band called Screams of Star Eating Zombies.

Surely a death or black metal band would be more appropriate.

OT: Glad I don't live near the galactic core. Not that I could, being a fleshy human. Still, I wouldn't mind getting a look at ( what i assume would be) the false-color images of that event.

If they call themselves Screams of Star-Eating Zombies, they better convert the readings of that telescope array into sound, like NASA did with the Voyager recordings, and incorporate those into their music.

What kind of metal would that be though?

Sewa_Yunga:
If they call themselves Screams of Star-Eating Zombies, they better convert the readings of that telescope array into sound, like NASA did with the Voyager recordings, and incorporate those into their music.

What kind of metal would that be though?

Jesus Christ on a pogostick. I just listened to some of those recordings. That is going to haunt my dreams.

Doom metal. Overlay some slow, heavy guitar riffs and horribly depressing lyrics and you've got yourself the doomiest doom metal band to ever tell the tale of doomed stars. Grr would be proud.

Unless the converted readings were shriller than the Voyager recordings. Then black metal. After all, black metal is just shrieking, church burnings, and murder.

 

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