Trinity astronomers mystified by disappearance of massive star in deep space

Massive 'disappearing' star could have become a black hole without going supernova

This could explain why the star appeared so bright during those early observations - still, it does not explain what happened after the outburst that caused the star to vanish.

Astrophysicist Andrew Allan said: "If true, his would be the first direct detection of such a monster star ending its life in this manner". However, this mysteriously disappearing star can destroy this generally accepted theory.

They said that if the star collapsed into a black hole without producing a supernova explosion, it would be "a rare event", as "our current understanding of how massive stars die points to majority ending their lives in a supernova".

A MASSIVE star in a distant galaxy has baffled astronomers by disappearing without a trace. Allan and his collaborators in Ireland, Chile and the U.S. wanted to find out more about how very massive stars end their lives, and the object in the Kinman Dwarf seemed like the ideal target.

However, during follow-up observations using the VLT in 2019, the researchers could no longer find the tell-tale signature of the star.

According to the scientists, they located the star about 75 million light-years away from Earth in a region known as the Kinman Dwarf galaxy.

A team of Trinity College Dublin researchers has reported the disappearance of an unstable, massive star in deep space. Located more than 75 million light years away in the constellation of Aquarius, the bright, blue variable star was previously observed to be nearly 2.5 million times brighter than our Sun, showing a clear spike in luminosity that may have indicated something like the end of its life cycle.

It was observed shining brightly between 2001 and 2011 but 2019 data revealed its absence. From 2001 to 2011, the light of the galaxy showed consistently evidence of which housed a star "variable luminous blue".


These unstable stars show occasional dramatic shifts in their spectra and brightness, but they should leave traces astronomers can detect.

"We may have detected one of the most massive stars of the local universe going gently into the night", Jose Groh, an astronomer at Trinity College Dublin and a co-author of a new paper on the star, said in a statement.

One explanation is that the distant star has been obscured by dust, but another theory is that the star collapsed into a black hole without producing a supernova.

In September 2018, Ireland became an ESO member state. It then brought into action highly capable spectrographs such as the Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) and the X-Shooter, which also failed to find the star. They found that it could've been a strong outburst period which might've ended sometime after 2011.

Due to the lack of supernova remnants within the galaxy, the scientists came up with another possible explanation regarding the star's sudden disappearance.

Mehner also took part in the research.

They said that if the star collapsed into a black hole without producing a supernova explosion, it would be "a rare event", as "our current understanding of how massive stars die points to majority ending their lives in a supernova". Such bright blue variable stars are likely to go through massive outbursts across the course of their life, thereby increasing the stars' speed of mass loss and also dramatically increasing their brightness.

Stars like this are rare, with only a handful confirmed in the universe so far.

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