Star Brighter Than the Sun Disappears Without a Trace

artist impression of the star that disappeared
Image Source - © ESO/L. Calçada)

Scientists observed a large star 2.5 mill times brighter than our sun, that vanishes without any trace in 2019, reports

Now, in a modern paper released on June 30 in the Royal Astronomical Society’s Monthly Notices journal, a squad of space investigators (see: astrophysicists) are trying to figure out the vanishing star ‘s case by giving many potential theories. Among such, one surprise conclusion stands out: Perhaps, the investigators wrote, the huge star probably died and fell into a massive black hole without first suffering a supernova burst — a truly “unexampled” act among stellar self-destruction. 

“We have observed the local universe’s largest stars softly moving into the dark,” said in a statement, Jose Groh. 

“If it were real, this will be the first clear observation of such a beast star thus ending his existence,” said Andrew Allan, in the statement. 

The star in wonder, situated in the constellation Aquarius about 75 mill bright-years away, was well observed around 2001 and 2011. The swollen orb was a splendid illustration of a luminous blue variable (LBV) — a large star that reaches the finish of its life and is susceptible to unexpected changes in brightness. 

These stars are uncommon, with just a few confirmed so far in our Universe. In 2019, Allan and his colleagues hoped to use the Very big Telescope of the European Southern Observatory to study more about the enigmatic evolution of the distant LBV, only to find that the massive star had already disappeared from its hosted galaxy altogether, says

When a star much bigger than our sun approaches the finish of its life, it usually erupts in a massive supernova burst. These blasts can easily be detected, as they smear the atmosphere in every direction for several light-years with powerful ionized gas and strong radiation around them. After the explosion, the thick core of the remaining stellar material will probably collapse into a black hole or a big neutron star — two of the largest and enigmatic objects in space.

The absent LBV didn’t leave any such radiation. It just vanished. 

The investigators looked back at past observations of the star seized in 2002 and 2009 to solve this mystery. They found that during this time the star has undergone a heavy outburst period, jettisoning massive quantities of stellar material at a faster pace than average. 

LBVs in their moody old age will experience frequent outbursts like this, the investigators wrote, causing them to radiate much brighter than normal. It is possible that the outburst finished sometime after 2011, the squad said.

It may explain why during those early observations the star seemed so bright — but it doesn’t explain what occurred after the explosion that triggered the star to disappear. One theory may be that after its outburst, the star faded considerably, and was then additionally obscured by a dense cloud of cosmic big dust. If that were the subject then in future observations the star might reappear. 

The crazier and more thrilling theory is that the star never ever recovered from its burst, but fell into a massive black hole without the supernova. The manager conceded that this will be an unusual occurrence. Given the approximate mass of the star prior to its collapse, it may have produced a massive black hole weighing 85 to 120 times the mass of our Earth’s sun, but it is still an open question how could this have occurred without an obvious supernova.

Fancy learning more about the moon? Check out this article –