Mass Star and Smaller Companion Create Vast Gas Disk (Artist's Illustration)
This artist's illustration reveals a vast disk of gas surrounding a massive, bright Wolf-Rayet star (shown at center). A close companion star is pulling gas from the Wolf-Rayet, shown by the bridge of bright material connecting the two stars. This act of celestial cannibalism exposes the massive star's hot, helium core. Some of the material, however, is escaping into space, forming the huge disk. This disk structure has never been seen before around a Wolf-Rayet star.