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A team of astronomers has discovered one of the brightest stars in the Milky Way

Named 2MASS J20395358 + 4222505, it is a blue giant star with a mass approximately 50 times that of the Sun, a radius about 40 times greater, and a luminosity of a million times that of solar (Photo by Samuel de Roman/GettyImages)

An international team of astronomers, led by Spanish researchers from the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL), It has discovered one of its most massive and brightest stars in the Milky Way, behind a dense cloud of interstellar dust and gas.

Named 2MASS J20395358 + 4222505, it is a blue giant star with a mass about 50 times the mass of the Sun, a radius of 40 times greater, and a luminosity multiple of a million times the mass of the Sun. Informs the IAC.

However, the most disturbing thing for researchers is the discrepancy in its speed of 60 kilometers per second, which is surprisingly high for its dimensions.

The object, which was already part of various astrological catalogs, was observed with great precision and detail thanks to the MEGARA instrument installed on Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC or Grantecan).

The study was published today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, according to the note.

IAC shows that the star 2MASS J20395358 + 4222505 is one of the brightest stars in the Milky Way and is located near the core of the nearest massive star-forming region, Cygnus-X, about 5,700 light-years from Earth.

However, J20395358 + 4222505 is an unknown star and the reason for its near anonymity is that it lies behind thick clouds of gas and dust that reduce its visible light by about 10,000 times.

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In this way, what would essentially be a magnitude 4 star, visible to the naked eye (the eye goes up to 6 degrees), is just one additional entry in the indexes, a magnitude 14 star (in astronomy, when brighter it is a star of smaller size).

Due to its special properties, J20395358 + 4222505 was observed during the tuning of the MEGARA multi-object spectrometer after its installation at Gran Telescopio Canarias, located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Canary Island of La Palma).

According to the IAC, the result was revealing to the researchers three times and above all because the star turned into a powerful blue giant.

Researchers believe that the star will likely turn into an ultra-giant blue giant, very little of which is known in the Milky Way.  (Photo by Samuel de Roman / Getty Images)
Researchers believe that the star will likely turn into an ultra-giant blue giant, very little of which is known in the Milky Way. (Photo by Samuel de Roman / Getty Images)

Second, the star is going through a rare stage of evolution, nearing the end of its main life sequence (in which stars spend 90% of their lives) and about to undergo major transformational changes.

Researchers believe that the star will likely turn into an ultra-giant blue giant, very little of which is known in the Milky Way.

For scientists, the third, and most expected surprise, is that the star seems to change its speed in an unusual way, and this high speed, reaching 60 km / s, indicates a massive gravitational effect that forces it to move very quickly.

The researchers are looking at two possible explanations: it has a similar star or compact object (a neutron star or black hole) as partners in a binary system.

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However, observations show no sign of a companion star, narrowing the options even further, and if it’s a compact object, the parent star should be one of the most massive in our galaxy.

“Currently, we have already discovered that it is a blue giant hidden behind a wall of interstellar gas and dust, astronomically speaking, in our home garden,” explains Artemio Herrero, a professor at the University of Laguna (ULL), the IAC researcher who led the study.

University of Alicante researcher and co-author of the article, Sarah Rodriguez Perlanas, who was a doctoral student at IAC/ULL, notes in the note that the new observations are necessary to unravel the true nature of this star, whose history, both in the past and in the future, makes it “one of the most A strangeness in the galaxy.”

For Armando Gil de Paz, an astrophysicist at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and principal investigator for the MEGARA instrument, this project demonstrates that the detailed spectral information provided by instruments like this, along with large telescopes such as the GTC, “is essential for the detection of many Mysteries hidden by seemingly unrelated things like J20395358 + 4222505,” he points out.

Other researchers from IAC and various institutions were also involved in the study, including the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Center for Astrobiology (CAB), University of Munich, University of Innsbruck, UCM and Fractal. The Gran Telescopio Canarias and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) observatories form part of the network of individual scientific and technical infrastructures in Spain.

(With information from EFE)

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