The Largest Star in The Milky Way Is Slowly Dying

Astronomical object representations in three dimensions may be absurdly intricate. They can be as big as the entire universe in size or as small as black holes from which light cannot even escape.

We can now officially add another extremely complicated model to our lists, even if not every object has received the attention required to create a comprehensive model of it.

An accurate model of VY Canis Majoris, a red hypergiant that may be the biggest star in the Milky Way, has been created by astronomers at the University of Arizona. And they'll make predictions about how it will pass away using that model.There has recently been significant discussion over how red hypergiants pass away. Astronomers initially believed they simply burst into a supernova, like so many other stars do.

However, more recent statistics indicate that there are many fewer supernovae than would be predicted if red hypergiants themselves were to detonate in that manner.

The current thinking is that they are more likely to merge into a black hole, which is considerably more difficult to directly see than the supernovae that were first proposed.

It is still unclear what precisely characterizes stars that will turn into black holes, and it would be helpful to create a model to find out.

Enter the UA team is now present. In order to better understand the kind of red hypergiants they were interested in learning more about, they chose VY Canis Majorus as a stand-in.

The size of the star is enormous, ranging from 10 to 15 astronomical units. Additionally, it is only 3,009 light-years from Earth. Because of this, observers find VY Canis Majoris, which is seen in the southern constellation Canis Major, to be interesting.

It is a prime candidate for observation because of its immense size and closeness to our Solar System. Astronomers can observe the star's surface in all its stunning intricacy with appropriate observational data.

Mass loss is one of the essential aspects of star death. Usually, this occurs when the star's photosphere is equally blown of gas and dust. However, there are huge structures on VY Canis Majoris that are a billion times more large and resemble coronal arcs on Earth.

The UA researchers used their time on ALMA to gather radio signals of the debris that is sent into space as part of these eruptions.

They would be able to detect its motion rather than merely the static presence of other ejecta, like dust, thanks to that substance, which includes sulfur dioxide, silicon dioxide, and sodium chloride.

To achieve this, they had to align all 48 of ALMA's dishes, gathering almost a terabyte of data in the process.

They are still working on some of the processing of all that acquired data since it may be rather difficult. They still had enough information to submit their research to the American Astronomical Society in the middle of June.

When they get additional information, they will be able to describe an even more accurate model of one of the biggest stars in the galaxy.

And when VY Canis Majoris eventually, formally perishes in the long future, that model of what would happen to a red hypergiant could just get a chance to be tested.

This article was originally published by Universe Today. Read the original article.