Deep Astronomy

  • May 20, 2013

    Episode 3: The Hypernova of VY Canis Majoris

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    Stars come in a wide variety of sizes and temperatures. Among the largest class of stars, known as hypergiants, is the star VY Canis Majoris.

    This star, located in our Milky Way galaxy, is 3,600 times the diameter of the Sun. When it dies, the resulting explosion will release more energy than 100 supernovae and emit enormous quantities of gamma rays.

    These gamma rays can actually pose a threat to nearby stars and planets. They are strong enough to destroy any life that may reside there if the planets are unfortunate enough to be in range.  Fortunately for us, if this is in fact VY Canis Majoris' fate, it is so far away that Earth will not be affected.