A recent mapping of that red giant, the largest constellation of Scorpio, shows that from its depths it expels an unknown matter as it approaches the end of its life.
Someday, sooner or later, the sun we see every day will become a giant star and grow to such an extent that it will swallow the Earth. For scientists, this inescapable fate involves the challenge of looking beyond our solar system to decipher and understand the evolutionary cycles of these incandescent stars and their mechanisms at each stage.
A new study, led by Keiichi Ohnaka, a researcher at Chile’s Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN), seeks to understand how and why the red supergiant Antares manages to expel so much matter to its surface as it approaches the end of its life, In the manner of a spectacular supernova, indicates Space.com.
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The enormous size of Antares, 883 times greater than the sun, makes it the ideal candidate for the study of what could happen to the Earth. Antares is also known as Alpha Scorpii, which means it is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpio. Red, it is visible in the night skies of August.
On Wednesday 16, the team of astronomers led by Keiichi Ohnaka published in the journal Nature a study that presents a new vision of the supergiant.
For their observations, the scientists used the VLT observatory, a system of four telescopes measuring eight meters each, capable of working in combination as a single instrument, making it the largest optical telescope in the world (hence its name: Very Large Telescope ‘, or VLT).
The behavior of the spectrum of CO emissions allowed astronomers to estimate the density and velocity of Antares plasma flows. And it is at that point that they were surprised: the density is significantly higher than expected. This means that the substance expelled from the depths of the star to its surface is quantitatively much higher than what was thought possible according to previous concepts.
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At the moment, this has a single translation: that in the bowels of Antares a powerful and hitherto unknown force for astronomers. Consequently, the authors of the study have dispensed with baptizing their nature.