The Sharpest Surface Image of another Star was just released

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Astronomers recorded an incredible image of the surface of another star, revealing its appearance in breathtaking detail and showing remarkable features in the process. The star that was photographed is an old red giant named Pi1 Gruis. It is located 530 light years from Earth, making this image quite stunning. We have never seen a star as clearly as this.

 Image of star.

The image was taken by an international team of astronomers using the Very Large Telescope (VLT), operated by ESO. An instrument called PIONIER on the telescope made the image possible, enabling us to glimpse the star in greater detail than ever before.

"We have already taken some other images of stars, but never as detailed as this," said Claudia Paladini of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Its diameter is 700 times larger than our Sun and is a thousand times brighter.

This is the first time we have seen granulation patterns in another star in the form of large convective cells - or bubbles - on the surface. Each cell seen in the image is approximately 120 million kilometers, or a quarter the size of the star. This is more than the distance from our Sun to Venus. Cells like that of our Sun measure 1,500 kilometers.

Pi1 Gruis has only 1.5 times the mass of our Sun although it is much larger in size. It results in a much lower surface gravity, giving rise to these large convective cells. She is also part of a pair of stars, the other being Pi2 Gruis.

This is not the first time we've seen such a detailed star - Antares was portrayed in August 2017 impressively. But this is the first time we've seen these kinds of details about such a variable star.

Pi1 Gruis is thought to have run out of hydrogen about 20,000 years ago, heating up to 100 million degrees as the first stages of nuclear fusion ceased. This caused the fusion of helium into heavier atoms, such as carbon and oxygen, creating a hot core that expelled its outer layers and increased its size.

"A few billion years ago, it probably seemed like our Solar System looks like today. The stars had their planets, maybe life, "Paladini said. "It's a look of the future imagining something that happened in the past," he concluded. [ IFLS ]