A Rare Luminous Blue Variable Star

The bright star to the right and above the center of the picture is cataloged as G79.29+0.46. It’s a massive luminous blue variable (LBV) star, one of only about 100 such stars in our galaxy. It’s very bright, but it can’t be seen from Earth in visible light because it’s extremely volatile and surrounded by a thick cloud of dust. The picture above is an infrared image put together by combining data from the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer and the Spitzer Space Telescope. In this false color image the blue star appears green and the surrounding dust shell appears red.

Image Credit: NASA / Judy Schmidt (CC BY 2.0)

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