The binary star system Alep with a spiral-shaped dust cloud circling it. The bright dot contains the two stars, the tiny one above it is a third star that does not influence the other two. The two stars are dying massive stars observed in the Milky Way. Image: Joseph Callingham, ASTRON
Spectacular dust cloud reveals how massive stars die - space short science news

Astronomers have discovered a special pair of stars and a spiral dust cloud whose form is best understood by assuming that one of the stars in this binary system is spinning extremely fast.

The existence of such star constellations has been suspected to exist before, but have never been confirmed by observations.

The two stars, also called massive « Wolf-Rayet stars », are thought to produce the most powerful explosions in the universe, emitting gamma-ray bursts when they die and explode as supernovae. Explosion of this star system, which the astronomers have baptized « Apep » is imminent, and as it was found in the Milky Way, it provides much insight into the final phase of the life of stars in our galaxy.

Read the full story: ASTRON – Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
Scientific publication: Nature Astronomy