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STScI Public Lecture Series

Active Luminous Blue Variables in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Presented by: Nolan Walborn (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Category: Education and Outreach   Duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes   Broadcast date: September 05, 2017
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Luminous blue variable stars showcase a spectacular and rare unstable stage in the death of massive stars. These supergiant stars can rapidly and unpredictably change both their brightness and spectra in outbursts that can last for decades. Some giant eruptions produce nebula that surround the star. Although known for centuries, the identification of the underlying physics remains elusive, and new behaviors continue to be discovered. Long programs of periodic monitoring have produced important pieces of this, as yet, unsolved puzzle. Understanding this dramatic phase will help complete the sequence of massive star development and delineate the progression to the final stellar death as a supernova explosion.