Patch-up telescope sees first detail of star beyond galaxy

May 28th, 2008 - 2:16 pm ICT by admin  

Garching (Germany), May 28 (DPA) Scientists in Germany who devised a way to hook up two powerful telescopes in stereo have observed for the first time the details of a star outside our Milky Way galaxy. They trained the two telescopes on a red supergiant named WOH G64 in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighbouring galaxy. WOH is about 2,000 times larger than the sun and is 163,000 light years away.

Keiichi Ohnaka of the Max Planck Radio-Astronomy Institute in Bonn led the research, which is described in a new science article Tuesday.

He and his team worked with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Garching, a suburb of Munich, remotely using the ESO telescope complex, which is built on a desert mountain in Chile.

They used two eight-metre reflector scopes to create a virtual 60-metre telescope.

The observations show the ageing star blowing much of its substance into space. It has lost 40 percent of its original mass already, developing a shroud of dust around it. An explosion as a supernova is inevitable.

The article appears in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

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