Wednesday, October 5

There was a “giant” star in the heart of the Tarantula Nebula | Digital Trends Spanish


What was believed was a huge star in the heart of the tarantula nebula, also known as 30 Doradus, are actually several stars. This is indicated by a new investigation that analyzed the star called R136, one of those that make up the large Magellanic Cloud, region that contains the most massive stars discovered to date and whose luminosity is such that it can be seen with the naked eye.

The research, published in the latest edition of the Astrophysical Journal, was led by Dr. Mónica Rubio, National Prize for Exact Sciences 2021 and astronomer from the University of Chile who is part of the Center for Astrophysics and Related Technologies, CATA. “The most massive stars are not as massive as we thought,” says Rubio, regarding the new study, which she could rethink the models of star formation and its final stages.

Dr. Rubio adds that to reach these results, more than a year of research was required using the Gemini South Telescope, located on Cerro Pachón in the Coquimbo Region. “It was the large 8.1m mirror and the instrument called “Zorro” that allowed us to take the sharpest optical images that can be taken from the ground today, revealing that where it was believed there was only one star, there are actually several”

Rubio explains that the next step will be to continue this research and determine the properties of these stars, since they are not as massive as previously thought, “it could imply that perhaps the first stars in the universe were not as massive as the models require” says the astronomer. “This can be elucidated with future observations only possible with the James Webb telescope,” she adds.

In this work, together with Mónica Rubio, participated Venu Kalari, main author who was an associate researcher at the Department of Astrophysics of the University of Chile (DAS) and Ricardo Salinas, astronomer at the Gemini Sur observatory in the Coquimbo Region, in addition to the collaboration of Chilean engineers from the observatory, together with a team from NASA. The results were published under the title “Resolving the core of R136 in the optical”, published today in the Astrophysical Journal.

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