Monster Stars Have Been Discovered In R136

Located in the Tarantula Nebula within the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 170 000 light-years away, the young cluster hosts many extremely massive, hot and luminous stars whose energy is mostly radiated in the ultraviolet. Scientists have combined images taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on Hubble with the unprecedented ultraviolet spatial resolution of the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) to identify some of the most massive and brightest stars known.

The image was taken using the Hubble Space Telescope.

The image shows the central region of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The young and dense star cluster R136 can be seen at the lower right of the image. This cluster contains hundreds of young blue stars, among them the most massive star detected in the Universe so far. Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope astronomers were able to study the central and most dense region of this cluster in detail. Here they found nine stars with more than 100 solar masses.

The image shows the central region of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The young and dense star cluster R136 can be seen at the lower right of the image. This cluster contains hundreds of young blue stars, among them the most massive star detected in the Universe so far. Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope astronomers were able to study the central and most dense region of this cluster in detail. Here they found nine stars with more than 100 solar masses. | Copyright ESA/Hubble & Nasa

 

As well as finding dozens of stars exceeding 50 solar masses, this new study revealed nine very massive stars in the cluster, all more than 100 times more massive as the Sun. The detected stars are not only extremely massive, but also extremely bright. Together, these nine stars outshine the Sun by a factor of 30 million.

Monster stars are technically classed as “very massive” and they are only ever found in the youngest star clusters because they don’t live for more than two or three million years. We only know about the existence of a few of these stars in our galaxy. This makes this find even more impressive and there is much excitement as to what further exploration will reveal.

A scientific paper about the stars was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society – which you can view by clicking here.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.