'Fried Egg Nebula' Could Become a Supernova?

Short life of the high energy nebula could result in a supernova explosion

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By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
September 29, 2011|12:03 pm

Scientists of the European Southern Observatory in Chile have spotted a very rare yellow hypergiant star, which they have deemed the “Fried Egg Nebula.”

The nebula, named for its fried egg shape, is engulfed by a double shell, which made up the “egg yolk.”

The star was spotted by the Very Large Telescope, which consists of four separate optical telescopes organized in an array formation, at the Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

Scientists claimed the star has a very high infrared brightness, despite never having been spotted before.

"This object was known to glow brightly in the infrared but, surprisingly, nobody had identified it as a yellow hypergiant before," Eric Lagadec, who led the study at of the European Southern Observatory, said in a statement.

The star was discovered inside the Scorpius constellation deep in the Milky Way galaxy.

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Although located at 13,000 light-years away from earth, this yellow hypergiant is still the closest to date.

It is 1,000 times wider than the sun and shines 500,000 times brighter. If the earth was placed inside the massive star, it would be completely swallowed by the nebula’s mass.

Hypergiants, or stars with a tremendous mass and velocity, are a rare breed in the solar system because they are perpetually expelling large amounts of dust and gas. Its constant high energy causes it to quickly die out.

The short shelf life and far distance makes hypergiants an elusive creature of the solar system.

However, it was the rare visible composition of this specific hypergiant that made it detectable to scientists.

The star’s composition included a high-energy center, resembling an egg yolk due to its illuminating yellow glow. Two perfectly spherical hazy shells of expelled dust and gas surrounded the nebula. The surrounding dust and gas is a byproduct of the energy released from the center.

Over a few hundred years, its total mass created equaled about four times the mass of the sun.

This newly discovered hypergiant now serves as a candidate for a Milky Way supernova explosion. If approved, this would prove beneficial to the large spiral galaxy because its explosion would endow surrounding interstellar mediums with nutrient rich metals. Essentially enabling the production of more stars in the galaxy.

The star’s eventual explosion has the potential to outshine the entire Milky Way Galaxy in a swirled mixture of purples and blues, eventually fading over several weeks.

According to scientists, the star is too far away to have any effect on the earth’s biosphere.

 

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