Source: Universe Today
Eta Carinae. Credit: NASA/HST
Luminous Blue Variables (LBVs) are a rare class of extremely massive stars that teeter on the very edge of being stable. The most famous of this class of stars is the well studied Eta Carinae. Like many other LBVs, Eta Carinae is shrouded in a nebula of its own making. The instability of the star causes it to throw off large amounts of mass even during its brief main sequence lifetime. What makes these stars so unstable is an open question which has been difficult to answer do the the paucity of known LBVs. Given that the initial mass function predicts that such massive stars should be rare, this is not surprising, but identifying these stars is often made even more difficult due to the reddening caused by their nebulae
However, an international team working from Russia and South Africa proposes that the nebula itself may be able to help identify potential candidates of LBVs. (read more)
Original Scientific Article:
arXiv.org - Gvaramadze,V.V., Kniazev,A.Y., Fabrika, S., Sholukhova,O., L. N. Berdnikov,L.N., Cherepashchuk,A.M., Zharova,A.V. (2009). MN112: a new Galactic candidate Luminous Blue Variable, MNRAS (submitted).