An international team of astronomers has observed a striking spiral pattern in the gas surrounding a red giant star named LL Pegasi and its companion star 3,400 light-years from Earth, using a powerful telescope in northern Chile called Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA. “What we are seeing in splendid detail with these observations is the final act of a dying red giant star, as it sheds most of its gaseous bulk in a strong, outflowing wind,” said study co-author Mark Morris, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy. After comparing their telescopic observations with computer simulations, the astronomers concluded that a highly elliptical orbit is responsible for the shape of the gaseous emissions surrounding this system. The research appears in the journal Nature Astronomy and is the cover story of the March issue. Read more here.