About 70 million light-years away, in the Kinman-Dwarf galaxy, was a bright, blue star – Monster Star disappeared almost mysteriously under the telescopic observations of the astronomers! It’s pretty far away for astronomers to be able to see but, they confirmed the presence of the star by examining its unique chemical signature prior to its disappearance.
This bloated orb was a beautiful LBV – Luminous Blue Variable, and they are extremely rare in the universe since only a handful of them have confirmed so far. LBVs are unstable and massive stars, sometimes 2.5 million times brighter than the sun, however, they’re poorly comprehended because they’re very rare.
This incident seems to have given some evidence to the astronomers that a star this massive, approaching the end of its life, may have collapsed into the black hole instead of exploding as an enormous supernova. These explosions are easy to recognize since they fill the sky around them with powerful radiation and ionized gas for a long, long time; followed by which there’s some leftover material that may collapse into a neutron star or the black hole.
However, it seems that the missing LBV left behind no such radiation, and simply disappeared. Astronomers have drawn two most probable theories as to why this may have happened, first one being, its luminosity decreased and eventually got obscured by dust. The second theory states that the star decided to skip its supernova explosion and head straight to the black hole.
Even though the Kinman-Dwarf galaxy is 70 million light-years away, researchers consider it to be a “local Universe”, and maybe this is why the vanishing mystery of this LBV has sparked excitement amongst all of us. They hope that ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) which will be going live by 2025, would be able to solve this cosmic mystery – the unprecedented act of stellar suicide.