Star collision helps solve 16-year-old mystery of the Blue Ring Nebula

NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt

Take a moment from this hellish year to imagine that a small star has been orbiting our sun. After eons, the two stars collide. The chaotic smash leaves behind a star and a mesmerizing blue cloud of dust and gas, a nebula, spills out into the cosmos. The cloud extends to a distance of about 13 light-years, enough to engulf 10 solar systems stacked end to end. 

While such a fate doesn’t await our sun (though it is 2020, so…), that exact scenario may have occurred a few thousand years ago at TYC 2597-735-1, a star that lies more than 6,000 light-years away from the Earth. Since the discovery of the star and its intriguing blue ring by NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer space telescope in 2004, astronomers have been puzzled by how it came to be.

“Every time we thought we had this thing figured out

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16-year-old cosmic mystery solved, revealing stellar missing link — ScienceDaily

In 2004, scientists with NASA’s space-based Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) spotted an object unlike any they’d seen before in our Milky Way galaxy: a large, faint blob of gas with a star at its center. Though it doesn’t actually emit light visible to the human eye, GALEX captured the blob in ultraviolet (UV) light and thus appeared blue in the images; subsequent observations also revealed a thick ring structure within it. So the team nicknamed it the Blue Ring Nebula. Over the next 16 years, they studied it with multiple Earth- and space-based telescopes, including W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii, but the more they learned, the more mysterious it seemed.

A new study published online on Nov. 18 in the journal Nature may have cracked the case. By applying cutting-edge theoretical models to the slew of data that has been collected on this object, the authors posit

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1989 rape, murder of 16-year-old Kansas City girl solved with new DNA technology

The same technology that helped crack the Golden State Killer case has been used to solve a 30-year-old Kansas City cold case.

Fawn Cox, then 16, was found dead in her Missouri bedroom on July 26, 1989, raped and strangled. Her sister, Felisa, told KCTV that Fawn had gotten home from work at Worlds of Fun after 11 p.m. and went straight to sleep.

When Fawn’s alarm went off this morning, she never woke up. Her mother and sister found her dead in her bed.

“I went over to shake her, ‘Come on! Get up!’ But she had been gone for a while,” Felisa said.

a person posing for the camera: Fawn Cox was murdered in 1989.

© Kansas City Police Department
Fawn Cox was murdered in 1989.

Fawn Cox was murdered in 1989. (Kansas City Police Department/)

Three teenagers were arrested for Fawn’s murder, but the charges were dropped after the case fell apart.

Then the case went cold until new

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