The clearest photo to date of colossal R136a1, the largest star that has been found in the universe managed to draw the astronomers.
The star in question had been observed in the past with the Hubble Space Telescope and other ground-based telescopes, but never with sufficient clarity.
The new observation achieved a resolution three times better than Hubble’s and slightly better than the new James Webb Large Space Telescope.
The observation, made with the 8.1-meter-diameter Gemini South International Telescope in Chile, leads to the new estimate that the mammoth star in question it is about 160,000 light-years from Earth in the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud (a dwarf galaxy near our own); has a mass “only” 170 to 230 times that of the Sun, not 250-320 times the previous estimate. Even so, he remains the biggest known star.
Scientists, as reported by the Athens News Agency, have not yet fully understood how such large stars were formed, with a mass at least 100 times greater than that of our Sun. Such giant stars are usually hidden in the “dense” hearts of dust-covered star clusters.
They are also short-lived and die young, having burned through their nuclear fuel in only a few million years (in comparison the Sun has not even completed half its expected 10 billion year life). The chemical elements that are heavier than the Sun in universeare created during the cataclysmic explosive death of stars with a mass at least 150 times that of the Sun.
The researchers, led by Venu Kalari of the NOIRLab of the US National Science Foundation and the Department of Astronomy of the University of Chile, made the relevant publication in the astrophysics journal “The Astrophysical Journal”.
See the photo:
Photo img: Athens News Agency/International Gemini
Source: News Beast