Surprising Cocoons Found Enveloping Giant Stars

Surprising Cocoons Found Enveloping Giant Stars
Two model images of the Cepheid star L Carinae as deduced from the interferometric observations: in the near-infrared from VINCI measurements (left) and in the mid-infrared from MIDI (right). In both cases, an envelope is found to surround the star. The contribution from the envelope is about 5 percent in the near-infrared and significantly more in the thermal infrared. As L Carinae is 17,000 times brighter than the Sun, this means that its envelope alone is several hundred times brighter than our Sun. (Image credit: ESO)



The cocoons


Most stars


"Are they


Most stars have a life cycle that starts with some 5 billion years or more



L Carinae

The finding


Incredibly sensitive instruments are required to

Now that

"There are

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Robin Lloyd

Robin Lloyd was a senior editor at and Live Science from 2007 to 2009. She holds a B.A. degree in sociology from Smith College and a Ph.D. and M.A. degree in sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is currently a freelance science writer based in New York City and a contributing editor at Scientific American, as well as an adjunct professor at New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program.