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Unraveling a Spiral Stream of Dusty Embers from a Massive Binary Stellar Forge

Astronomers using three Maunakea Observatories have discovered one of the most prolific dust-making Wolf-Rayet star systems known, remarkably producing an entire Earth mass of dust every year. A research team has captured the beautiful, spiral motion of newly-formed dust streaming from a massive binary star system called Wolf-Rayet (WR) 112. WR 112 is incredibly hot and luminous with fast stellar winds ejecting material at high velocities over thousands of kilometers per second. One would expect dust to incinerate from the intense radiation of heat and violent winds. The fact that you see dust survive in this extreme environment is what makes WR 112 so mysterious and unusual. Wolf-Rayet stars are one of the most extreme stars known; they are over 20 times more massive and millions of times brighter than the Sun. Because they are in the very late stage of stellar evolution, losing a large amount of mass, Wolf-Rayet stars have short lives and therefore are extremely rare. Reference: https://keckobservatory.org/wolf-rayet/ ............................................................................ #space #science #nature #education #news

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