Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory, Kameula, Hawaii, astronomers have learned that the gaseous outflow from one of the brightest super-sized stars in the sky is more complex than originally thought.
Astronomers have studied VY Canis Majoris for more than a century. The star is located 5,000 light-years away. It is 500,000 times brighter and about 30 to 40 times more massive than the Sun. If the Sun were replaced with the bloated VY Canis Majoris, its surface could extend to the orbit of Saturn.
The outbursts are from VY Canis Majoris, a red supergiant star that is also classified as a hypergiant because of its very high luminosity. The eruptions have formed loops, arcs, and knots of material moving at various speeds and directions. The star has had many outbursts over the past 1,000 years as it nears the end of its life.
Image : NASA ESA and R. Humphreys (University of Minnesota)