Traceless disappearance of a giant star

(ORDO NEWS) — At 75 million light-years from Earth, there is the Kinman dwarf galaxy (PHL 293B), which has become home to a giant star that is 2.5 times brighter than our Sun.

Due to its size and brightness parameters, the star was one of those distant objects, for which astronomers made close observations in 2000-2010.

However, when another scheduled observation began using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in 2019, it turned out that the star simply disappeared without a trace.

“One of the most massive stars in the near Universe simply disappeared into darkness,” astronomer Jose Grou described his impressions.

Gone without saying goodbye

Fortunately, astronomers from Trinity College Irish Dublin have some thoughts on what could have happened. The study was published on June 30 in the scientific journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

  • Firstly, a star could suddenly decrease its brightness to a minimum or a cloud of dust covered it corny.
  • Secondly, a star could turn into a black hole, passing a supernova flash.

Missed opportunity

No matter what scenario occurred, both fit into the framework of computer models created earlier. Scientists plan to begin a new large-scale observation in 2025, when the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will be commissioned. This is likely to make up for the lost opportunity to observe the changes occurring with the mysterious star.

“We were all pleasantly surprised to find that the star disappeared. This is an amazing opportunity to study processes that we know so little about,” concluded Andrew Allan, team leader.


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