Home > Astronomy, General Astronomy, Star & Solar System Formation > Giant Star Expels Multiple Dust Shells, Researchers Find

Giant Star Expels Multiple Dust Shells, Researchers Find


An international team led by Leen Decin, a K.U.Leuven astronomer, has discovered a series of dust shells in the vicinity of CW Leonis, a dying giant star. The star expelled the shells in the course of its long life: the most distant shell was expelled 16,000 years ago and, in that time, has drifted more than 7,000 billion kilometres from the star.

CW Leonis is an evolved star in the Leo constellation, 500 light-years from Earth. The dying star has become a carbon-rich red giant star: “Until recently, it was thought that giant star’s surroundings were homogenous: evenly distributed matter without any exceptionally large clumps, but there are more and more indicators suggesting that this is not a reliable picture,” says Leen Decin. “New images from the Herschel satellite confirm this in a spectacular way: We discovered more than a dozen shells expelled throughout the star’s life as a giant. The weakest shell we found is 7,000 billion kilometres from the star.”

Full Story: http://www.astronews.us/2011-09-28-0230.html

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