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A massive star just vanished without a trace and astronomers don’t know why – CNET

disappearingstar

An artist’s impression of the star that vanised without a trace.

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ESO/L. Calçada

Of all the things you’d expect to lose sight of, a star 100 times bigger than our sun probably isn’t top of mind. Yet scientists are stunned at the realisation that a massive star has somehow vanished into nothingness, with seemingly no explanation.

In a new study, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society on Tuesday, astronomers checked in on a gigantic star, nicknamed the Kinman Dwarf, in the galaxy PHL 293B, 75 million light-years from Earth. The team were interested in learning more about the low-metallicity environment of PHL 293B and had expected to see Kinman shining away.

But the star had vanished.

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The star is no longer lighting up the galaxy. Indeed, it’s no longer lighting up anything at all as it’s simply… gone. Despite being seen most recently in 2011, when the team of scientists used the ESPRESSO instrument at Chile’s Very Large Telescope, they could not source the star.

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