Sometimes space may seem scary, even violent. This is what has driven scientists to call a new star discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope as “Nasty 1.” This is because the start is quite different from our own star, the Sun. Nasty 1, unlike most stars, has its core exposed because of the rapid breakdown of its outer layers, giving scientists a view of the awe-inspiring core.
While Nasty 1’s core is intriguing, what most scientists are interested in is how the star is breaking down. According to the University of California’s Jon Mauerhan “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.”
Another scientist who was intrigued by the discovery and co-authored the study was Nathan Smith. Smith pointed out how amazing it was that they found a star of the Wolf-Rayet Family (Stars with exposed helium cores because of the deterioration of their external layers). “We’re finding that it is hard to form all the Wolf-Rayet stars we observe by the traditional wind mechanism, because mass loss isn’t as strong as we used to think.” Smith added that “Mass exchange in binary systems seems to be vital to account for Wolf-Rayet stars and the supernovae they make and catching binary stars in this short-lived phase will help us understand this process.”