Иллюстрации ESO

The mysterious disappearance of a massive star in a dwarf galaxy


The European Southern Observatory (ESO) reports a mysterious event in the vastness of the universe: a mysterious disappearance of a massive star was recorded in the Kinman dwarf galaxy.

ESO illustrations

ESO Illustrations

The named galaxy is located at a distance of approximately 75 million light years from us in the constellation Aquarius. From 2001 to 2011, the radiation of the galaxy invariably indicated that it contained a blue variable star of high luminosity, which is about 2.5 million times brighter than the Sun. However, in the data obtained by researchers in 2019, signs of the existence of this luminary were not found.

Observations were made with the ESPRESSO and X-shooter receivers at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory. “We were surprised to see that the star disappeared without a trace!“, Say the scientists.

Several hypotheses are made that explain the disappearance of a massive body. According to one version, the star’s brilliance could fall sharply or it could disappear behind a cloud of dust. The fact is that luminaries of this type are unstable, they show sharp irregular changes in their spectra and brightness. Presumably, during previous observations, the star was in a phase of a strong flare, which probably ended around 2011.

But there is another explanation for the disappearance of the star: according to experts, a star could collapse into a black hole without a supernova explosion.

This would be an extremely rare event: according to our current view of the last stages of the evolution of massive stars, most of them should explode and form supernovae”, Notes ESO.

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