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30 Earthloads of Dust Dropped by Hypergiant Star

Update Date: Nov 27, 2015 01:52 PM EST

Canis Majoris, the hypergiant star discovered by astronomers is discarding 30 earthloads of dust every year in a weight loss process before it becomes supernova. The big red star must lose large varieties of mass before it starts to die, eventually becoming an explosive supernova. To achieve this, the star is discarding gas and dust at a gigantic pace and in sizes that are bigger than what are found in space. By using the European Southern Observatory's large Very Large Telescope, the astronomers took high resolution pictures of VY Canis Majoris, one of the largest stars in the Milky Way galaxy, reports Forbes.

According to Tech Times, the star is so huge that if it was placed in the middle of the solar system, it would entirely cover Jupiter's orbit. The star is said to be at least 40 times larger than the sun and at least 300,000 times brighter. The lead author of the paper, Peter Scicluna, published in the journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics that these red stars lose a lot of mass when the are nearing their ending days.

Space reported that an instrument in Very Large Telescope showed that Majoris has unusually large dust grains that are possible to be pushed away by starlight's force. It is these huge grains that allow the star behemoth to shed large amount of dust and gas from its surface every year. This big star, Canis Majoris, is losing as much as 30 times the Earth's mass in dust and gas every year, reports CDA News. The paper's lead author said "Massive stars live short lives." He added, "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."

 

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