Hidden in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nebula just outside the Milky Way is perhaps the largest star we have ever seen. This star, named R136a1, is located approximately 150,000 light years from Earth (according to Phys. org).
R136a1 It was discovered 62 years ago by a team of astronomers from the Redcliffe Observatory in Pretoria and published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in October 1960.
RMC 136a1 is one of the heaviest and brightest stars
RMc 136a1 is one of the heaviest and brightest stars, with a mass hundreds of times that of the Sun and a luminosity 6.2 million times that of the Sun, and is also one of the hottest stars , with temperatures up to 46,000 degrees Celsius. . R136a1 is located in the middle of a constellation in the Tarantula Nebula, a cloud of dust and gas located 165,000 light years from the Milky Way. It was discovered by the European Space Observatory telescope located in the Atacama Desert, Chile.
New research on R136a1 was published in August this year after a team of astronomers led by Venu Kalari of the Gemini Observatory studied the star cluster in which it is found. They were able to photograph this supergiant star, which allowed them to make new estimates of the size of R136a1. Their findings, published in the Astrophysical Journal, shed light on the mysteries of this star and how it may be representative of how the most massive stars in our universe are.
Professor Paul Crowther, working at the University of Sheffield (UK), said that when it formed it was hundreds of times heavier than the Sun. “Unlike us humans, these stars are very heavy when they are born and will become lighter with time.”, he said. Crowther also said that R136a1 is very bright, with a luminosity several million times that of the Sun, and has a surface 7 times hotter than the Sun.
When R136a1 was first discovered, its mass was initially estimated to be around 250 to 320 times the mass of our Sun. This was very interesting to scientists at the time, because they thought the maximum mass of a star was much smaller, until the discovery of R136a1. This maximum mass is called Eddington boundaries, is the theoretical point at which stars will become so bright that they explode their outer layers. According to a study published in the journal Nature, the Eddington limit is estimated at around 150 times the mass of the Sun.
R136a1 is one Wolf-Rayet Star (are stars with a mass greater than 20 times the mass of the Sun, with a high rate of loss of stellar material due to stellar wind at a speed of more than 2,000 km/s. R136a1 was lost during of the last million years. ejected a mass of material equal to about 50 times that of the Sun. R136a1 was determined to be about 1.7 million years old, and by tracing its rate of material loss, the original mass of It is predicted to be more than 320 times that of the Sun, which violates some previous models which suggested that the limiting mass of a star is 150 times that of the Sun.
According to Phys. org, new estimates from the research team suggest that this star has a mass between 170 and 230 times the mass of our Sun, a much more reasonable estimate than previous research. And yet, it remains the largest star ever found in our universe (according to the BLACK Laboratory).
Not only is R136a1 the most massive star discovered in our universe to date, but it could also be an accurate representation of the behavior of all stars of this mass. Stars form in many different sizes, from red dwarfs to blue-white supergiants. According to Phys. org, if astronomers could learn more about supergiant stars like R136a1, including their frequency, it could help us understand how they form.
The initial proof that R136a is a constellation was made by Weigelt and Beier in 1985. Using speckle interferometry, R136a was shown to be composed of eight stars within an arc second of the center of the constellation , with R136a1 as the brightest star. Final confirmation of the nature of R136a came after the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. Its Wide Field Planetary Camera (WFPC) will image R136a in at least 12 sections and show that R136 contains more than 200 extremely bright stars. The more advanced Wide Copper and Planetary Camera 2 (WPPC2) allows the study of 46 luminous giant stars within a half-parsec radius of R136a and more than 3,000 stars within a 4.7 parsec radius.
Understanding how massive stars like R136a1 work can help us learn more about some of the most massive objects in our universe, which form during supernova explosions. According to NASA, up to 80% of elements heavier than iron come from massive supernovae. These new discoveries about R136a1 may help astronomers find other massive stars and remnants of supernovae that occurred in the past.
Article source: PNVN
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Hidden in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nebula just outside the Milky Way is perhaps the largest star we have ever seen.