Giant star VY Canis Majoris does ‘A BattleGuise’

Giant star VY Canis Majoris does 'A BattleGuise'

Like Betelgeuse, the brightness of this red supergiant decreases sharply. Researchers now hope that this can be explained.

Researchers were stunned when the brightness of the red supergiant Bettley Gus diminished and then increased again the following year. Fortunately, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to solve this mystery. Observations indicate that the star emitted large amounts of gas and kept some distance from the star. Some star-forming dust clouds formed. So the brightness of the star does not decrease; It seemed so only through the intervention of dust particles. As the dust cleared, the star’s brightness increased again.

VY Canis Major
Betelgoose is not the only red supergiant with such tactics, the researchers now show in the magazine. Journal of Astronomy. The gigantic star VY Canis also shows the brightness and fluctuations of Majoris, but on a much larger scale than Betellogues. Brightness fluctuations can last a long time – sometimes for years in a row.

Hubble observations now reveal that these fluctuations can be traced back to the processes we identified in Betelgeuse. “VY Canis Majoris behaves like betel nut on steroids,” said researcher Roberta Humphries.

Researchers have previously shown that large plasma arches can be found around the VY Canis Majoris – and with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope. They are like the significance we see in our own sun. Those significances alone are very small. In addition, they are attached to the surface of our Sun, while the plasma arches found near VY Canis Majoris are not connected to the star. The star has been tossing them around for centuries, and Humphries and colleagues ended it a few years ago. In this new study, scientists looked again at this expelled object. But this time the focus was on objects close to the star. Based on its speed and motion, Humphreys and colleagues conclude that some of it was in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – when the brightness of the VY Canis Majoris was reduced by one-sixth.

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This strongly suggests that they are reduced in brightness to star-forming dust particles emitted by all types of gaseous materials, such as Betelgeuse. “So we see something similar in the VY Canis Majoris, but on a much larger scale,” Humphries says. “A lot of things are associated with a significant decrease in brightness
Probably because the dust temporarily blocked the star’s light. ”

In the center and left are images taken by Hubble. Impression of an artist by VY Canis Majoris on the right. The star can be called a ‘monster’. “It’s one of the biggest stars we know of,” Humphries said. “The highly developed red supergiant.” If you place a star in the heart of our solar system, it will extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Image: NASA, ESA, R. Humphries (University of Minnesota), Jr .; Allstead (STSCI).

Great exhalation
It is impossible to overestimate the emission of VY Canis Majoris. The star sheds 100 times as much mass as Betelgeuse. Near the star, Humphries and colleagues found gas blocks twice the size of Jupiter. “It’s great to be able to do this for a star,” Humphries said. On the surface of the VY canis majoris and betel-gus – as we know it in our sun – is the expulsion of matter from massive convection cells. In the case of Vy Canis Majoris, those cells may be larger than our entire sun – or even larger. ”

Here you see Betelgeuse. The star is clearly visible to the naked eye. Last year the observer could see the brightness diminishing with the naked eye. This is different for VY Canis Majoris. The star is far away, and until about 200 years ago it was just a faint spot in the sky. It is not visible to the naked eye as the brightness of the star is still low. Image: ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO) / E. O’Gorman / P. Kervella.

There are red super giants like VY Canis Majoris that are very bright and emit a lot of dust. But none of these stars are as complex as VY Canis Majoris. So what is so special about this star? VY Canis Majoris may be in a unique evolutionary stage that is different from other stars. The star will only be active for a very short time – perhaps a few thousand years. ”

In fact, red supergiants are nothing more than dying stars. Astronomers suspect that VY Canis Majoris has already lost half of its mass. It is not yet clear how the star will end. Maybe it will be a supernova and the star will explode in a spectacular way. Or maybe the star will collapse and form a black hole.

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