Beautiful 3D model of stars explains changes in brightness

From a supercomputer to your desktop, models of blue variable stars.

The Universe abounds with things that we think we might understand but aren’t really sure about. What it often comes down to is our ability to compute: to answer the question of whether models based on the physics we know about generate the behavior we see around us. In response to that question, researchers have turned their computation gun on a long-standing problem: why do luminous blue variable stars exist? 

Luminous blue variables are very big, very bright stars, but their temperature (color) varies quite a bit. Scientists were pretty sure that the variability came down, somehow, to a combination of radiation pressure, shock waves, and convection. But until now, no one could confirm that.

Emotional stars lose their equilibrium

In particular, luminous blue variables go from brightness and temperature ranges that are in equilibrium to brightnesses that are far out of equilibrium. 

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