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Australian astronomers have been studying an intergalactic assassin poised to wipe out life on Earth. Maybe. Observations indicate that cosmological curiosity WR104 may be a killer - and we might be the victim.
The pretty pinwheel that makes the system so distinctive is now know to be a combination of two stars - a blue star orbiting the Wolf-Rayet 104. Note that the "Wolf-Rayet" name is the astronomical equivalent of a beeping red LCD countdown reading "0:01" - it's a swollen star getting ready for final supernova detonation. At the moment its fusion reactions are blasting its own photosphere off into space, where the blue companion orbits and illuminates the material, creating a seriously impressive spiral over twice the size of our solar system.