Spiral Shell Sheds Light on Red Giant Star's Recent Convulsive HistoryQuicklink submitted by Kyle McDermott Permalink
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|As stars age, they often shed their skins, so to speak, casting off expansive shells of dust and gas into interstellar space. A new look at the shell surrounding a type of aging star called a red giant shows that the star's ejected husk carries in its structure the imprint of its formation and subsequent evolution. The researchers could also infer from the shell's structure a timetable for its creation. R Sculptoris looks to have erupted the shell of material in a sort of stellar convulsion called a thermal pulse about 1,800 years ago. The thermal pulse lasted about 200 years, Maercker and his colleagues have concluded, during which time the star cast off about three times the mass of Jupiter in dust and gas.|
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