#astronomy Pink hypergiant mimics Betelguese with dusty dimming on an enormous scale – Astronomy Now

March 8, 2021 - Comment

An artist’s impression of the hypergiant VY Canis Majoris exhibits violent fuel ejections and convection cells. If positioned in our photo voltaic system, the star’s radius would prolong past the orbit of Jupiter. Picture: NASA, ESA and R. Humphreys (College of Minnesota), and J. Olmsted (STScI) The dimming of the Betelguese final 12 months prompted



An artist’s impression of the hypergiant VY Canis Majoris exhibits violent fuel ejections and convection cells. If positioned in our photo voltaic system, the star’s radius would prolong past the orbit of Jupiter. Picture: NASA, ESA and R. Humphreys (College of Minnesota), and J. Olmsted (STScI)

The dimming of the Betelguese final 12 months prompted widespread hypothesis concerning the destiny of the pink supergiant, with some questioning concerning the (comparatively) near-term chance or a supernova. Because it turned out, the dimming seemingly was brought on by a gaseous outflow forming mud that briefly obstructed parts of the star’s disc as considered from Earth.

New analysis exhibits the same course of, working at a a lot bigger scale, is answerable for dimming the sunshine of the pink hypergiant VY Canis Majoris, a star 300,000 occasions brighter than the Solar whose floor would prolong past the orbit of Jupiter in our photo voltaic system.

“VY Canis Majoris is behaving so much like Betelgeuse on steroids,” stated the research’s chief, astrophysicist Roberta Humphreys of the College of Minnesota. “This star is totally superb. It’s one of many largest stars that we all know of, a really advanced, pink supergiant. It has had a number of, large eruptions.”

In earlier work, Humphreys and her staff famous enormous arcs of plasma blasted from the star, just like photo voltaic prominences on Earth’s Solar however on a a lot bigger scale.

Now, utilizing the Hubble House Telescope, the researchers have been capable of measure the velocities of gaseous knots and different constructions nonetheless near VY Canis Majoris, permitting them thus far the eruptions. Because it turned out, lots of the knots will be linked to episodes within the 19th and 20th centuries when the star dimmed to one-sixth its regular brightness.

Zooming into VY Canis Majoris: The left panel is a picture captured by the Hubble House Telescope displaying the trillion-mile-wide nebula of particles ejected from the hypergiant. The center picture is a close-up view from Hubble displaying the star’s speedy environment (the pink dot signifies the star’s location, representing the scale of Earth’s photo voltaic system out to the orbit of Neptune). The third panel exhibits an artist’s impression of the bloated star ejecting monumental light-obscuring clouds of fabric. Picture: NASA, ESA and R. Humphreys (College of Minnesota), and J. Olmsted (STScI)

The massive star is blowing of 100 occasions as a lot mass at Betelgeuse, with some knots greater than twice the mass of Jupiter.

“That is in all probability extra widespread in pink supergiants than scientists thought and VY Canis Majoris is an excessive instance,” Humphreys continued. “It could even be the principle mechanism that’s driving the mass loss, which has all the time been a little bit of a thriller for pink supergiants.”

Whereas different pink supergiants eject large quantities of mud, VY Canis Majoris is in a category by itself.

“VY Canis Majoris could also be in a singular evolutionary state that separates it from the opposite stars,” Humphreys stated. “It’s in all probability this lively over a really quick interval, perhaps just a few thousand years. We’re not going to see a lot of these round.”

The star could have already shed half its mass. In consequence, when fusion reactions eventual cease and the star’s core collapses, VY Canis Majoris won’t explode in a supernova blast. It could merely collapse immediately right into a black gap.



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