One of the largest stars in the Milky Way captured dying by astronomers

Scientists have got their hands on one of the most detailed images of a dying star, also one of probably the largest in our galaxy – VY Canis Majoris, according to a report by The Independent.


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To the ignorant, VY Canis Majoris is a red hypergiant that can span nearly 10,000 times the distance between our planet and the sun in diameter. However, not much is known about the death of these red hypergiants..

Scientists believe that instead of exploding into a large red sphere like most of this category, hypergiants are known to form into irregular arcs and protrusions in a series of phases, releasing considerable amounts of mass..

However, recently researchers from the University of Arizona were able to trace these protrusions, capturing the clearest image of a hypergiant star to date.

It was done thanks to the Atacama Large Millimeter Array radio telescope in Chile, where astronomers traced specific molecules in material ejected from the gargantuan star.

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The sharpest image of one of the largest dying stars in our galaxy captured by astronomers

Then they mapped those tracks onto images of the star previously taken by the Hubble Space Telescope to create maps of sulfur oxide, silicon oxide, phosphorus oxide and sodium chloride in the material. released by the star.

The image was first revealed on June 13, at the 240th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Pasadena, California.

What makes this discovery even more special is that hypergiants in the galaxy are already rare, and we don’t know much about the second-brightest star in the constellation Orion, Betelgeuse. And VY Canis Majoris, located about 3,000 light years from our planet in the southern constellation of Canis Major, is however the largest of them all.

Lucy Ziurys, professor of chemistry at the University of Arizona, explained: “With these observations, we can now put them on maps in the sky. So far, only small parts of this huge structure have been studied, but you can’t understand the mass loss and how these big stars are dying unless you look at the whole region. That’s why we wanted to create a complete picture.”

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