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A team of scientists in Australia and the United States, led by Associate Professor Miroslav Filipović from the University of Western Sydney, has discovered a new class of object which they call “Super Planetary Nebulae.”
They report their work in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.Planetary nebulae are shells of gas and dust expelled by stars near the end of their lives and are typically seen around stars comparable or smaller in size than the Sun.
The team surveyed the Magellanic Clouds, the two companion galaxies to the Milky Way, with radio telescopes of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Australia Telescope National Facility. They noticed that 15 radio objects in the Clouds match with well known planetary nebulae observed by optical telescopes.
The new class of objects are unusually strong radio sources. Whereas the existing population of planetary nebulae is found around small stars comparable in size to our Sun, the new population may be the long predicted class of similar shells around heavier stars.