Astronomers in Europe have spotted what appears to be a giant cosmic fried egg approximately 13,000 light-years from earth. The Fried Egg Nebula is a yellow hypergiant, which is one of the rarest classes of stars, and it looks a little bit like breakfast.
Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory say that the Fried Egg Nebula (or IRAS 17163-3907) is the closest yellow hypergiant to earth.
Eric Lagadec, of the European Southern Observatory, said in a statement.
“This object was known to glow brightly in the infrared but, surprisingly, nobody had identified it as a yellow hypergiant before.”
Here’s a video of the yellow supergiant from Space.com.
According to MSNBC, the yellow supergiant is 1000 times larger than our sun and approximately 500,000 times brighter. If our sun were replaced by the yellow supergiant, Earth would be located well within the star and Jupiter would be orbiting right at the star’s edge.
Space.com reports that yellow hypergiants like the Fried Egg Nebula are going through an extremely active phase of their evolution as they experience “a series of dynamic and explosive events that cause the star to eject four times the mass of the sun in only a few hundred years.”
Yellow hypergiants will most likely end with an explosive death, and the Fried Egg Nebula could be the next supernova to occur in our galaxy.
Earlier this month, star SN 2011fe exploded into the brightest supernova that astronomers have seen in decades. The Fried Egg Nebula might not be able to match the supernova in the Pinwheel Galaxy, but IRAS 17163-3907 has a way cooler name.
Do you think IRAS 17163-3907 looks like a fried egg?