A Gigantic Star, Observed For Years, Has Mysteriously Disappeared

Scientists have explained that a massive star that has been observed for years is mysteriously no longer visible. Researchers believe solving the mystery of the giant star's extinction could reveal new information about the stars ' demise.

Scientists seeking to re-observe a massive star in the Kinman dwarf galaxy, 75 million light-years away, last observed in 2011, have realized that the star is no longer visible.

The Star, which was found to be no longer visible, had been extensively studied between 2001 and 2011. As a result of the investigations, it was determined that the star was at a late stage in its life. The star was therefore considered the perfect target for studying the death of gigantic stars.

Scientists trying to get information about the death of large stars by observing the massive star were astonished when they realized that the star had not been seen. Scientists believe the star may not be visible because it has lost its brightness or is located behind a cloud of dust. However, another possibility is that the star may have been lost without a supernova explosion and because it turned into a black hole. “If this is true, we would have made the first direct detection of such a monster star whose life ended this way,” Andrew Allan said.

Such a discovery of massive stars could change the information about how massive stars die. Our current information suggests that at the end of its life, large stars will become supernovae. But this star, which has mysteriously disappeared, could shatter this generally accepted theory.

Scientists use ‘special signatures’ of stars to detect very distant stars

The Kinman dwarf galaxy is so far away that astronomers can't see some stars. Astronomers are trying to detect the specific signatures of stars to identify the stars here. These “special signatures” of stars are known as bright blue variables. Bright blue variables indicate that the observed star is about 2.5 million times brighter than The Sun. Scientists say stars observed in this way are in the “crazy part” of their life cycles, so they change quickly.

Astronomers were neither able to see the star until 2011 when they looked at the Kinman dwarf galaxy to re-observe the observed star in 2019, nor were they able to find any trace of the remains of a supernova. “It would be very unusual for a star of such magnitude to disappear without revealing a bright supernova explosion,” said Allan, one of the researchers.

Wanting to make sure they didn't miss the bright blue variable signature from the massive star, scientists turned a number of instruments from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope to the point where the star should be. Despite months of work and attempts to find the star, no trace of the star has been found. Studying past data on the mysteriously lost star, scientists discovered that the star was undergoing a period of intense activity that probably ended in 2011.

Scientists who continue to study the vanishing giant star think that new studies with other instruments may reveal new information about the massive stars, as well as information about how the mysteriously vanishing star disappeared.
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