Hundreds of bright flashes are detected as little suns decorating clear nights, and although at first glance they look the same, stars come in very different types. Color, temperature, abundance of chemical elements, and age are some of the properties that can vary from one star to the next.
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Within this variety of stars are strange stars that live quickly and die randomly. Initially discovered in the constellation of the Swan in 1867, it was also named after the strange name Wolf-Rayet (WR), in honor of its discoverers, the French astronomers Charles Wolf and George Wright, and corresponds to giant luminous objects about twenty masses our sun and about five times the temperature Its surface.
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Even more surprisingly, WRs lose their outer layers through high winds that appear next to the solar wind as a light gale. The powerful projectiles expel the material that strips the star to reveal its core, which is where fusion reactions take place, converting lighter chemical elements into heavier ones.
Many of the WR stars are hidden in the midst of the massive nebulae that make them difficult to spot, namely the clouds that form due to the materials that eject them.
For example, a WR can be reduced from 100 solar masses to only 8 solar masses at the end of its life, which is equivalent to losing several times the Earth’s mass every year, while the material being discarded enriches its environment with heavy chemical elements. , Like a concentrated broth cube that melts to fit in an increasingly thick and rich soup.
In our galaxy hardly 200 WRs have been found, which are also short-lived (a few hundred thousand years) compared to the life of stars of the solar type (billions of years).
The exact fate of WR stars depends on the initial mass they contain, but many of them are thought to end their lives in large explosions, such as supernovae or gamma-ray bursts.
On some occasions, they have been seen dying “live” thanks to projects that constantly monitor the celestial vault using various telescopes for signs of these eruptions.
Type IIb supernovae, as they are classified, are one of the brightest stars in the universe and provide a good opportunity to scrutinize the secrets of their ancestral stars, the brilliant, momentary and violent Wolf Wright.