A prominent star in our universe has mysteriously disappeared, leaving no trace. The star that belonged to Kinman Dwarf Galaxy has quietly vanished and researchers have no explanation yet.
The big development was unfolded in a study by the scientists at Trinity College Dublin. The paper revealing the findings was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Astronomers and researchers have extensively been studying the massive star that is situated 75 million light-years away between 2001 and 2011. As per the news release, the scientists had discovered that the star was in its last stage of evolution. As it seemed like a perfect subject for their analysis of the dying star, it was found out that the star had disappeared without leaving any tell-tale signs.
"Instead, we were surprised to find out that the star had disappeared!" said Andrew Allan, the Trinity College Dublin scientist who led the study, in a statement on Eureka Alert.
The only explanation that the scientists could come up with so far is that it may have dimmed down and become "partially obscured by dust." An alternative explanation suggests that the star possibly "collapsed into a black hole without producing a supernova."
"If true, this would be the first direct detection of such a monster star ending its life in this manner," said Allan.
Such a discovery could bring a shift in the understanding of stars. So far, it was believed that the stars erupt into a supernova before ending their life but that does not seem to be true for this star.
"It would be highly unusual for such a massive star to disappear without producing a bright supernova explosion," Allan added.
The team of researchers used the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) for their discovery.
"We may have detected one of the most massive stars of the local Universe going gently into the night," said a team-member Jose Groh, also from Trinity College Dublin. "Our discovery would not have been made without using the powerful ESO 8-metre telescopes, their unique instrumentation, and the prompt access to those capabilities following the recent agreement of Ireland to join ESO," he added. Ireland became an ESO member state in September 2018.