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Meet ‘Nasty 1’, a Unique Star With a Rapper Name

posted: 05/22/15
by: Danny Clemens
Nasty 1 Star
NASA/Hubble

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope recently observed Nasty 1, a rapidly aging star like no other in the Milky Way galaxy. The name is a play on the star's catalog name, NaSt1.

Officially classified as a Wolf-Rayet star, Nasty 1 is notably more massive than our Sun. It rapidly sheds its hydrogen-rich outer layers, leaving its bright, helium-burning core exposed.

Unlike other Wolf-Rayet stars, Nasty 1 is encircled by a 2-trillion-mile pancake-shaped disk of gas. According to NASA, the disk may be the byproduct of a companion star that "snacked on" the outer envelope of Nasty 1.

"We were excited to see this disk-like structure because it may be evidence for a Wolf-Rayet star forming from a binary interaction," said Jon Mauerhan of the University of California, Berkeley. "There are very few examples in the galaxy of this process in action because this phase is short-lived, perhaps lasting only a hundred thousand years, while the timescale over which a resulting disk is visible could be only ten thousand years or less."

Click here to learn more from NASA

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