Glowing Red Eye: Cosmic Bubble Surrounds Odd ‘Carbon Star’
The huge star, known as U Antliae, lies about 900 light-years from Earth, in the southern constellation Antlia (the Air Pump). U Antliae has burned all the hydrogen and helium in its core and has therefore moved on to the “asymptotic giant branch” (AGB), the last major step in the life cycle of a sun-like star before it becomes a superdense white dwarf.
ALMA captured the bubble in multiple wavelengths of light, producing a 3D “data cube” that researchers have mined in detail.
“Shells such as the one around U Antliae show a rich variety of chemical compounds based on carbon and other elements,” the officials wrote in the same statement. “They also help to recycle matter and contribute up to 70 percent of the dust between stars.”