Red giant

The death throes of red supergiants Astrophysics

The death throes of red supergiants

For the first time, astronomers have imaged the dramatic end of a red supergiant's life in real time. They observed the rapid self-destruction of a massive star located 120 million light-years from Earth in the galaxy NGC 5731 and its final death throes before collapsing into a type II supernova. Led by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), the team observed the red supergiant during its last 130 days before its fatal detonation. The discovery, published in the Astrophysical Journal, contradicts previous ideas about how red supergiants evolve just before they explode. Previous observations…
Old and young at the same time? The mystery of red giants Astrophysics

Old and young at the same time? The mystery of red giants

At the end of their life, main sequence stars (which also include our Sun) develop into red giants. This fate is predestined for them. However, it’s not so easy to figure out the true age of a red giant. This is because there are many individual factors that can accelerate or slow down their development. Astronomers have gotten rather good at this in recent years, but there are always exceptions. Four years ago, researchers of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy discovered red giants whose age estimates differed by up to four billion…