Fig7_6 VY Canis Majoris

Fig7_6  VY Canis Majoris

Fig. 7.6 . The exceptionally massive and luminous supergiant star VY Canis Majoris is nearing the end of its estimated life of 0.5 million years. As revealed in this image taken from the Hubble Space Telescope, the starís extended, outer atmosphere is being ejected into surrounding space in arcs, loops, filaments and knots. When this data is combined with spectroscopy using the ground-based Keck telescope, it is found that the numerous features are moving at different speeds and in various directions, and were hence produced from separate events and at different locations. One of the arcs is moving at a speed of 46,000 km s-1, close to the escape velocity of the star. (Courtesy of NASA/ESA/Roberta Humphreys, U. Minnesota.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University