Astronomers have identified the largest star ever observed

Credit image: pixabay images
Credit image: pixabay images

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 29 September 2022, at 09:57 am PDT

A team of researchers from Cornell University obtained surprising new information by analyzing the star cluster R136, which is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, 150,000 light-years away from us.

With the help of the first images taken of the star cluster R136, the specialists were able to discover in its center the most massive star identified so far - R136a1. This star is huge, having almost 200 times the mass of our Sun, so it is very close to the upper limit of a star, according to astronomers' calculations.

R136a1 is eight times hotter than the Sun and has forty times the radius. Stars that are so big have a shorter lifespan, which is why they are hard to spot. These giants are born in areas where there are many heavy chemical elements, as a result of the explosion of other stars.

The presence of heavy elements causes the gas clouds to collapse rapidly, thus forming new, much larger stars. The Large Magellanic Cloud is an ideal region from this point of view because it is surrounded by clouds of gas and dust, which is why a lot of stars are born there.

There are many classes of stars in the Universe, with very different sizes, temperatures, and lifetimes. Red dwarfs are the smallest, coolest, and live the longest, while the Sun is considered a medium-sized star.

Any new information about stars other than our own helps scientists better understand how galaxies evolve.