Betelgeuse is one of those astronomers call hypergiant stars. And a few months ago, they thought they were in the front row of his end of life. Lack. So they turned to another hypergiant star, “a Betelgeuse on steroids”to try to unravel the mysteries of the death of these stellar monsters.
Remember. It was late 2019, early 2020. Betelgeuse, one of theof our sky, had dramatically lost its without the understand why. They once thought we were about to witness the death of the . At the beginning of its supernova explosion. But it was not. Betelgeuse has finally regained its luster.
And thesupergiants have continued to keep a part of the secret, which researchers at the University of Arizona (United States) hope to lift thanks to a three-dimensional image of a hypergiant star. An image that reveals the processes that accompany the death of these extraordinary objects.
No supernova for hypergiant stars?
It is these extraordinary characteristics that have prompted astronomers to look into the case of V.Y. Canis Majoris. With the aim of verifying whether these star monsters actually evolve into supernovae. “If that were the case, we should see a lot more supernovae in the sky”, says Lucy Ziurys. That’s why researchers believe that at least some might just quietly collapse into.
Unlike less massive stars, hypergiant stars tend to experience loss ofsubstantial and sporadic which form complex and very irregular structures. Kinds of arches, tufts or . To learn a little more about VY CMa and how she loses mass – this had been confirmed by observations of the in particular -, the astronomers traced, thanks to the data of the Large array of millimeter/submillimeter antennas of the Atacama (Chile), certain – the dioxide of (NA2), the oxide of (SiO) or the chloride of (NaCl) – ejected from the surface of the star. By moving Alma’s antennae, they were even able to obtain very detailed information on directions and movement of these molecules.
The researchers then superimposed the whole thing on pre-existing images of the dust surrounding V.Y. Canis Majoris. And what they observed was indeed not a loss of symmetrical mass, but cells of. Like giant balls ejected in different directions. “A bit like the coronal arcs that we observe on our . But a billion times bigger”concludes Lucy Ziurys.