One of the most luminous stars we knew has disappeared, astronomers are not clear why
About 75 million light years from Earth is the Kinman galaxy. In it, one of the largest stars it contains (2.5 million times brighter than the Sun) it has stopped showing signs of life. Now astronomers waver between different theories about why and how a mammoth star like this one has suddenly disappeared. It is the “magic” of the Universe, which can surprise you with unimaginable explosions, incredibly heavy black holes or disappearances like this.
In different observations made from 2001 to 2011, the star appeared in the luminous spectrum of the galaxy. However, in two observations made during the past year with the European VLT ESO telescope from the Atacama desert in Chile no longer appears. That the gigantic star disappears is not strange, that it does so without leaving a trace. That is why astronomers are now wondering whether it has directly transformed into a black hole.
From gigantic star straight to black hole
Usually the stars of a huge mass end up as white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes when they die. But of course, when that happens normally there is also an explosion in the form of a supernova that generates an intense brightness (and some are especially large).
In a study published in the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers who have observed this phenomenon speculate that it may have occurred. As they say, the star could have directly collapsed into a black hole unexploded as a supernova previously. If so, it would be the first time that such an event has been recorded.
There is another possibility on the table. The idea is raised that the star had actually exploded previously and what we have been seeing during these years until 2011 was the explosionn itself and hence the high luminosity. All this, let’s remember, taking into account that we see things that happened more than 75 million years ago.
Researchers they plan to study this star further from the Kinman galaxy shortly. Or rather, once ESO’s ELT telescope is ready in 2025. This new telescope will be powerful enough to be able to observe individual stars in galaxies as far away as Kinman.