With a size between 10,000 and 15,000 astronomical units, VY Canis Majoris, located more than 3,000 light years from our planet, is considered one of the most massive stars in the Milky Way.
A team of researchers presented on June 13, at the 240th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, the first three-dimensional model of the star VY Canis Majoris, which offers an “unprecedented” view of the death of the red hypergiant, recently reported by the University of Arizona.
According to the statement, to explore the mechanisms that cause the loss of the mass of the star until the end of its life, astronomers took on the task of tracking certain molecules detected around the hypergiant and, supported by images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, map them.
In this context, scientists used the Chilean Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) telescope to track a variety of molecules ejected by the celestial body from its surface. By positioning ALMA’s 48 radio antennas in different configurations, they were able to obtain information about the vectors described by the molecules and map them in detail across the different regions around VY Canis Majoris, even correlating them with different mass ejection events along weather.