The famously red supergiant star that marks Orion's shoulder is creating an enormous shock wave as it plows through the interstellar medium. New infrared views from a Japanese space observatory called Akari show what's going on with unprecedented clarity.
Most of the lights we see in the night sky with our naked eye are stars, and stars have always been at the heart of astronomy. We use telescopes to peer through dusty gas to see young stars forming, and we watch in awe as massive stars explode in supernovae. And sometimes we see normal stars behaving oddly. Stars die to become white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars, and black holes, but the ways these metamorphoses work still perplex astronomers.
Keep up to date on the latest discoveries in our study of the stars. From new classes of variables to the brilliant smashup of two neutron stars, we bring you news on how stars are born, live, and die in the universe.