How red giant stars lose weight 'revealed'
Astronomers claim to have finally revealed how the red giant stars of our galaxy lose massive weight every yearindia Updated: Apr 13, 2012 16:05 IST
Astronomers claim to have finally revealed how the red giant stars of our galaxy lose massive weight every year -- winds from the upper atmosphere of the heavenly bodies are responsible for the process.
An international team says the winds that stream from the upper atmosphere of the red giant stars are responsible for removing massive amounts of matter, a finding which has profound implications across astronomy and beyond.Using a state-of-the-art telescope at one of the world's leading observatories in Northern Chile, the team has created images of the faint starlight glinting off an unexpected halo of dust grains around the red stars.
"The grains that we have discovered here will come as a real shock to the accepted wisdom in the field. They are both much larger and much closer to the stellar surface than anyone expected," Barnaby Norris at Sydney University, who led the team, said.
This could be a critical new piece in the puzzle of how these old, dying stars manage to drive such powerful winds, say the astronomers.