Cosmic Spiral Around Red Giant Star R Sculptoris Could Elucidate Stellar Evolution

unexpected spiral structure in the material around the old star R Sculptoris
Observations using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have revealed an unexpected spiral structure in the material around the old star R Sculptoris. This feature has never been seen before and is probably caused by a hidden companion star orbiting the star. This slice through the new ALMA data reveals the shell around the star, which shows up as the outer circular ring, as well as a very clear spiral structure in the inner material. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

R Sculptoris, an elderly star, located 1,500 light-years from Earth, has been observed in the final stages of stellar life, slowly shedding the outer layers of its atmosphere. There are intensely high temperatures at the star’s core, which create a powerful stellar wind that drive these layers out. They usually accumulate into planetary nebulae over a few million years. It is believed that most small and medium-sized stars will undergo a similar process at the end of their life.

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Possible Death of Solar System Seen in White Dwarf Stars

white-dwarf

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have been able to probe into the chemical signatures of dusky disks encircling four distant star systems. They discovered that surprisingly the chemical composition was eerily similar to Earth. Those elements make up 93% of the Earth’s mass.

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