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Chile burger.

Chile burger

Sorry, Herb, they're calling it "Gomez's Big Mac.' Officially it's Object Gomez, a bun-shaped blob in the sky 3 seconds of arc by 5, discovered by Arturo Gomez of Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory near La Serena, Chile. Spectroscopic observations lead to the supposition that the object is a very old giant star that is just on the point of becoming a planetary nebula.

Observations by Gomez and Maria Teresa Ruiz, Jose Maza and Claudio Anguita of the University of Chile at Santiago indicated that the object is a normal star somewhat warmer than the sun. But a Japanese visitor, Kimiaki Kawara, found a spectrum indicative of an object 10 times colder than a normal star. The picture now is that of a star with a cool thick ring of dust around its equator. The dust hides part of the star from view, giving the pinched-in appearance around the middle. The astronomers' "best guess' is that it is a star evolved past the giant or supergiant stage, undergoing a fast evolutionary phase that will make it a planetary nebula.

Astronomers know of a number of planetary nebulas, but until now they had never seen an example of this precursor stage, which may be as short as 1,000 years, a mere split second astronomically. If the "celestial hamburger' is that, it could prove a very important find.
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Title Annotation:bun-shaped nebula in the sky
Author:Thomsen, Dietrick E.
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 18, 1986
Words:228
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