VLT image of the surroundings of VY Canis Majoris seen with SPHERE

The star VY Canis Majoris is a red hypergiant, one of the largest known stars in the Milky Way. It is 30–40 times the mass of the Sun and 300 000 times more luminous. In its current state, the star would encompass the orbit of Jupiter, having expanded tremendously as it enters the final stages of its life.

New observations of the star using the SPHERE instrument on the VLT have clearly revealed how the brilliant light of VY Canis Majoris lights up the clouds of material surrounding it and have allowed the properties of the component dust grains to be determined better than ever before.

In this very close-up view from SPHERE the star itself is hidden behind an obscuring disc. The crosses are artefacts due to features in the instrument.

Credit:

ESO

About the Image

Id:eso1546a
Type:Observation
Release date:25 November 2015, 12:00
Related releases:eso1546
Size:857 x 796 px

About the Object

Name:VY Canis Majoris
Type:Milky Way : Star
Milky Way
Milky Way : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Red Supergiant
Distance:4000 light years
Constellation:Canis Major
Category:Stars

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Coordinates

Position (RA):7 22 58.31
Position (Dec):-25° 46' 3.32"
Field of view:0.05 x 0.05 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 0.0° left of vertical

 

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