R136a1 The Biggest Star Ever

Most Massive Star Discovered—Shatters Record

Giant star discovered

A giant star has been discovered by astronomers who claim it to be the biggest star ever, and is 265 times bigger than the sun.

>European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere

A 300 Solar Mass Star Uncovered

21 July 2010

Using a combination of instruments on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have discovered the most massive stars to date, one weighing at birth more than 300 times the mass of the Sun, or twice as much as the currently accepted limit of 150 solar masses. The existence of these monsters — millions of times more luminous than the Sun, losing weight through very powerful winds — may provide an answer to the question “how massive can stars be?”

The University of Sheffield

NGC 3603 is located 22,000 light-years away from the Sun, and is a cosmic factory within which stars form quickly from the nebula´s ring of gas and dust. RMC 136a (more commonly known as R136a), another cluster of young, hot stars, is found within the Tarantula nebula, itself within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighboring galaxy to the Milky Way.

Stars with surface temperatures of over 40,000 C – more than seven times hotter than the Sun – were found, measuring tens of times larger and millions of times brighter. Many of these stars were born with a greater mass than they now posses, losing weight through very powerful winds, and models suggest that several were born in excess of 150 solar masses.

The most massive star ever found, R136a1 within the R136a cluster, has a current mass of 265 solar masses, and it is thought its birthweight was as much as 320 times that of the Sun. It is also the most luminous star ever found, close to ten million times that of the Sun. Within R136, only four stars out of an estimated 100,000 stars in the cluster weighed more than 150 solar masses at birth, yet they account for nearly half of the solar wind and radiation in the entire cluster.

In NGC 3603, two stars in a binary system were measured, to validate the models used. The stars A1, B and C in the cluster were all estimated to have weighed above or close to 150 solar masses at birth.
Collected from: News releases 2010

This video zooms in onto the R136 cluster as seen with the MAD adaptive optics instrument.

Most Massive Star Discovered—Shatters Record

YouTube - Giant star discovered

ESO - eso1030 - Stars Just Got Bigger

News releases 2010

YouTube - Massive stars in the young cluster RMC 136a

Most massive star on record found in neighbouring galaxy | Science | guardian.co.uk

Stars just got bigger: A 300-solar-mass star uncovered

BBC News - Astronomers detect 'monster star'

Massive Blue Supergiant Challenges Theory of How Big a Star Can Be | 80beats | Discover Magazine

The Associated Press: Scientists find most massive star ever discovered

eso1030.pdf (application/pdf Object)