Home > Agencies & Organisations, Astronomy, ESO (European Southern Observatory), General Astronomy, Nebulae, Observatories & Facilities > Feast Your Eyes on the Fried Egg Nebula: ESO’s VLT Spots a Rare Treat

Feast Your Eyes on the Fried Egg Nebula: ESO’s VLT Spots a Rare Treat


Credit: ESO/E. Lagadec

Credit: ESO/E. Lagadec

Astronomers have used ESO’s Very Large Telescope to image a colossal star that belongs to one of the rarest classes of stars in the Universe, the yellow hypergiants. The new picture is the best ever taken of a star in this class and shows for the first time a huge dusty double shell surrounding the central hypergiant. The star and its shells resemble an egg white around a yolky centre, leading the astronomers to nickname the object the Fried Egg Nebula.

The monster star, known to astronomers as IRAS 17163-3907, has a diameter about a thousand times bigger than our Sun. At a distance of about 13 000 light-years from Earth, it is the closest yellow hypergiant found to date and new observations show it shines some 500 000 times more brightly than the Sun.

This object was known to glow brightly in the infrared but, surprisingly, nobody had identified it as a yellow hypergiant before,” said Eric Lagadec (European Southern Observatory), who led the team that produced the new images.

Full Story: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1136/

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