Astronomers study giant star about to become a supernova

10/17/2013 | Space.com

A glowing cloud of hydrogen gas is surrounding a huge star that is nearing the end of its life, researchers say. Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile, astronomers noticed the ionized nebula, the first ever found near a red supergiant, giving them the opportunity to study how stars shed their layers before becoming a supernova. The star, dubbed W26, is the largest known star in the universe and is about 16,000 light-years from Earth.

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