Bizarre secrets of a ticking time-bomb star

In the eye of a stellar cyclone
Infrared image of Wolf-Rayet binary, dubbed Apep, 8000 light years from Earth. Credit: European Southern Observatory

While on COVID lockdown, a University of Sydney honours student has written a research paper on a star system dubbed one of the “exotic peacocks of the stellar world”.


Only one in a hundred million stars makes the cut to be classified a Wolf-Rayet: ferociously bright, hot stars doomed to imminent collapse in a supernova explosion leaving only a dark remnant, such as a black hole.

Rarest of all, even among Wolf-Rayets, are elegant binary pairs that, if the conditions are right, are able to pump out huge amounts of carbon dust driven by their extreme stellar winds. As the two stars orbit one another, the dust gets wrapped into a beautiful glowing sooty tail. Just a handful of these sculpted spiral plumes has ever been discovered.

The object of this study is the

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Student unlocks bizarre secrets of a ticking time-bomb star — ScienceDaily

While on COVID lockdown, a University of Sydney honours student has written a research paper on a star system dubbed one of the “exotic peacocks of the stellar world.”

Only one in a hundred million stars makes the cut to be classified a Wolf-Rayet: ferociously bright, hot stars doomed to imminent collapse in a supernova explosion leaving only a dark remnant, such as a black hole.

Rarest of all, even among Wolf-Rayets, are elegant binary pairs that, if the conditions are right, are able to pump out huge amounts of carbon dust driven by their extreme stellar winds. As the two stars orbit one another, the dust gets wrapped into a beautiful glowing sooty tail. Just a handful of these sculpted spiral plumes has ever been discovered.

The object of this study is the newest star to join this elite club, but it has been found to break all the

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