ALMA Telescope Captures An Image Of The Splendid Final Act Of The Dying Red Giant Star

First Posted: Mar 18, 2017 04:50 AM EDT

Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array or ALMA telescope captured an image of a dying red giant star referred to as LL Pegasi with its binary companion star that is about 3,400 light-years away from the planet Earth. The international team of astronomers observed this final act of the dying star.

The findings of the study were published in the journal Nature Astronomy. The researchers discovered that the old red giant star loses material as it orbits its companion. The result of its highly elliptical path is a spiral shape that is thought to represent about 800 years. This is approximately the orbital period of the binary system, according to Gizmodo.

Mark Morris, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy and the co-author of the study, said that what they observed is the final act of a dying red giant star as it casts its highly gaseous bulk in a strong and outflowing wind. Morris added that the cold molecular gas founding and spinning in the wind from the star is due to the orbital motion of the red giant star. This shaped the outflowing pattern of spiral shells.

The researchers, therefore, concluded that its vastly elliptical orbit forms the gaseous emissions surrounding this system. The image displays several complete revolutions of the spiral pattern. This provides understanding about the dynamics of the binary system for more than a period of 5,000 years. Morris stated that this rarely ordered system could lead to knowledge on how the orbits of such systems develop with time as one of the stars loses most of its mass, as noted by 

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