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News 2016

Eta Carinae: Violent stellar wind collision in the binary star monster
Eta Carinae is a massive, bright stellar binary system. The more massive component is one of the largest and most luminous stars known. In the central region of the binary, the powerful stellar winds from both stars collide at speeds up to 10 million km per hour. An international research team led by Gerd Weigelt from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, and Professor Anthony Moffat from Université de Montréal and the Centre de recherche en astrophysique du Québec (CRAQ), has for the first time studied Eta Carinae using near-infrared interferometric imaging techniques. The team obtained unique images of the wind collision regions between the two stars. These discoveries improve our understanding of this enigmatic stellar monster. The observations were carried out with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

La vie des étoiles au Festival Eurêka.
Le Centre de recherche en astrophysique du Québec (CRAQ) était présent à l’édition 2016 du Festival Eurêka! C’est avec enthousiasme que des étudiants du CRAQ ont pris part à la 10e édition du Festival Eurêka! qui s’est déroulé dans le Vieux-Port de Montréal, du 10 au 12 juin 2016. Pendant ces trois jours, neuf étudiant(e)s à la maitrise et au doctorat de l’Université de Montréal et de l’Université McGill, ont fait découvrir quelques mystères du cosmos aux festivaliers.


A group of researchers using the W. M. Keck Observatory have discovered a planet-like body that may have been encrusted in limestone and is having its surface layers devoured by its deceased host star. In addition to extending a relatively new method of determining the chemical composition of planets to examine their internal structure, the team found that the rocky material being accreted by the star could be comprised of minerals that are typically associated with marine life processes here on Earth. The team -- comprised of Carl Melis of University of California, San Diego, and Patrick Dufour of the Université de Montréal -- is announcing their findings at the 228th meeting of the American Astronomical Society this week.

McGill astronomers observe mysterious repeating cosmic radio bursts
Astronomers for the first time have detected repeating short bursts of radio waves from an enigmatic source that is likely located well beyond the edge of our Milky Way galaxy. The findings indicate that these “fast radio bursts” come from an extremely powerful object which occasionally produces multiple bursts in under a minute.

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