View Full Version : Seeing Our Sun's Future in Other Stars

2005-Sep-13, 12:41 AM
SUMMARY: Mira stars are a special class of variable red giants which pulsate. Over the course of 80-1,000 days, a Mira star can vary in brightness by a factor of 10 times or more during the cycle. An international team of astronomers has observed the environments of five Mira stars, and found that they're surrounded by a shell of water vapour and carbon monoxide; this makes them seem larger than they actually are. These new observations bring the size of Mira stars in line with mathematical models that predict their size and composition. By observing Mira stars, astronomers will get a preview of the fate that could befall our own Sun when it bloats up to become a red giant in a few billion years.

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