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Star V Hydra dies by the rules – stellar matter flies away from her like circles on water

When a star with a mass about the size of the Sun or more at the end of its life sheds its outer shell, its place remains the nucleus (usually a white dwarf), and stellar matter flies and forms a cloud-nebula. However, of the billions of stars who die like everyone else, there is one who has decided to die in his own way.


Artistic representation of the process. Image source: ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO) / S. Dagnello (NRAO / AUI / NSF)

Astronomers have long noticed the star V Hydra in the constellation of the same name. Previous studies have shown that large portions of stellar matter fly out of the star. It is like firing “fireballs” the size of the planet, which was observed every eight years. A new study by the ALMA radio telescope has clarified in detail the picture of the spread of stellar matter on the outskirts of V Hydra, and it surprised astronomers.

Scientists from the University of California and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have found that the carbon-rich star has ejected six rings of stellar matter that are slowly expanding. This fact could be attributed to the companion star V Hydra (this is a double system with a relatively small second star). However, the rings of substance V Hydra are emitted over a period of several hundred years (six rings in 2100 years), which is difficult to relate to the known dynamics of the behavior of binary stellar systems.

Star V Hydra belongs to the so-called AGB-stars (asymptotic branch of giants). Our Sun will also evolve in time according to the rules of this branch. Astronomers believed that they knew everything about the evolution of such stars until the V Hydra hit the telescopes at a distance of 1300 light years from us. I was surprised and surprised, and also made to think that we have just begun to study the mysteries of the universe.

“We have found this dying star in the process of dumping its atmosphere – in the end, most of its mass – what happens to most red star-giants in the later stages, – said one of the authors of the study. “But, to our surprise, we found that in this case, the substance is released in the form of a series of rings.”

“Our research clearly shows that the traditional model of how AGB stars die – due to the release of mass of fuel by a slow, relatively stable, spherical wind for 100,000 years or more – is incomplete at best and incorrect at worst,” – Another author of the work shared.

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