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 stars detected in the universe so far. Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope were able to conduct a detailed imaging and spectroscopic study of the central and most dense region of this cluster. Here they found nine stars with masses greater than 100 times the mass of the sun. The cluster is located 170,000 light-years away from Earth.
- extra large view at HubbleSite.org ⇒
MARCH 17, 2016: An international team of astronomers using the ultraviolet capabilities of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has identified nine monster stars with masses over 100 times the mass of the sun in the star cluster R136. This makes for the largest sample of very massive stars identified to date. The results, which will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, raise many new questions about the formation of massive stars. R136 is only a few light-years across and is located in the Tarantula Nebula within the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 170,000 light-years away from Earth. The young cluster hosts many extremely massive, hot, and luminous stars whose energy is mostly radiated in the ultraviolet.
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⇐cover image: Hubble floats above Earth; March 2002._hubblesite.org
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