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A team of astronomers have discovered a hypergiant star that is believed to be shedding massive amounts of mass each year before it creates a massive supernova explosion.
The researchers found that the VY CanisMajoris is shedding dust that is equal to 30 Earths in a year and is losing massive weight each year. The huge red star will eventually create anexplosive supernova, according to experts. During this process, the star is shedding dust and gas at an rapid pace and the amount of dust is much larger than ever seen in space.
The team used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope to study the planet. They were able to take the most detailed pictures yet of VY CanisMajoris, one of the largest known stars in the Milky Way. The new adaptive optics system of the telescope on its SPHERE instrument helped researchers look at deeper into the cloud of gas and dust around the star and study how the light appeared in the cloud and determine the large dust particles.
lead author of the paper Peter Scicluna of the Academia Sinica Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan, in a statement that, “Massive stars live short lives. When they near their final days, they lose a lot of mass. In the past, we could only theorise about how this happened. But now, with the new SPHERE data, we have found large grains of dust around this hypergiant. These are big enough to be pushed away by the star’s intense radiation pressure, which explains the star’s rapid mass loss.”