Print 22 comment(s) - last by The0ne.. on Jul 26 at 5:19 PM

Scientists find star more than 300 times more massive than the sun.

A UK-led team of scientists say that R136a1 is the most massive star ever found.  According to the Associated Press, a new study finds that it shines millions of times more luminous than the sun.  The star, which is about 265 solar masses, had a birth weight of as much as 320 times that of our sun.

The mammoth star was found at the center of a star cluster in the Tarantula Nebula, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighboring galaxy about 165,000 light-years away from the Milky Way.

The celestial giant is losing mass through powerful winds and burns so brightly that it has already slimmed down considerably over its lifetime, said Paul Crowther, lead astrophysicist at the University of Sheffield in northern England.

"Unlike humans, these stars are born heavy and lose weight as they age," said Crowther. "R136a1 is already middle-aged and has undergone an intense weight loss program, shedding a fifth of its initial mass over that time, or more than fifty solar masses."

The team of scientists compared previous findings from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope with the new readings from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, of two young clusters of stars. They found several stars with surface temperatures over 40,000 degrees — more than seven times hotter than the sun.

The findings from Crowther and his team can be found in the July edition of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In June, a team of NASA scientists discovered the most powerful gamma rays on record and physicists at the University of Oxford published a study about their findings on whether dark matter in the sun sustains life on Earth in this month's Physical Review Letters journal.

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By blueeyesm on 7/22/2010 9:22:20 AM , Rating: 5
"Unlike humans, these stars are born heavy and lose weight as they age," said Crowther.

In essence they are always 'on', rarely consume external fuel sources and starve their bodies, then burn themselves out. Sounds like someone with an eating disorder...

RE: heh...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 9:42:56 AM , Rating: 5
They should name the star O-MNOMNOM. ;)

RE: heh...
By Mitch101 on 7/22/2010 10:08:53 AM , Rating: 2

RE: heh...
By w1z4rd on 7/22/2010 11:07:31 AM , Rating: 2
hahahaha! +1

RE: heh...
By InvertMe on 7/22/10, Rating: -1
RE: heh...
By MrBlastman on 7/22/2010 10:29:43 AM , Rating: 2
Well she did fail to mention that they only last for two million years typically and numbers on their luminosity. It was lite on the details for sure and they would be more than welcome. I did get those details elsewhere yesterday when I read about this discovery.

RE: heh...
By Smilin on 7/22/2010 10:44:22 AM , Rating: 2
So did I although not intentionally.

You see when I read the words "Unlike humans, these stars are born heavy and lose weight as they age.." I became immediately stupid. So stupid in fact that I could no longer remember how to read. Thankfully I got better within just a few minutes.

RE: heh...
By tedrodai on 7/22/2010 11:51:03 AM , Rating: 2
Huh? At least I can understand trying to lose weight. What about this mumbo-jumbo?

The celestial giant is losing mass through powerful winds

Does he mean like farting?


Yeah... Anyways, I'm pretty sure he aimed waaaaaay below the lowest common demonitator there. Once you reach a certain point, there's no hope in getting the audience to care about any of the 'cool' stuff you want to tell them about your knowledge and accomplishments.

RE: heh...
By tedrodai on 7/22/2010 11:57:30 AM , Rating: 2
"He" being Paul, the lead astrophysicist and gifted public speaker. Tracie was just quoting his clarification of the tough subject matter...seems like a few people were getting the wrong impression there.

RE: heh...
By lexluthermiester on 7/26/2010 7:24:08 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. She was quoting someone else and some of the above posters failed to take that into account. Or perhaps they have no understanding of quotation marks...

By InvertMe on 7/22/2010 10:20:42 AM

I stopped reading the blog post right after that line.. I mean come on, are you serious with that? I guess I expect too much from people. I like more hard technical data not fluff crap.

And what exactly was wrong with this article? She did give good details and also made reference to many valid sources. But hey what do I know right?

RE: heh...
By delphinus100 on 7/25/2010 10:46:50 AM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing it's this star's equivalent of the so-called solar wind...

RE: heh...
By lexluthermiester on 7/26/2010 7:33:01 AM , Rating: 2
Does he mean like farting?

Seriously? Grow up. They were talking about solar winds which every star[including our own] produces and through such sheds mass as well as energy.

Yeah... Anyways, I'm pretty sure he aimed waaaaaay below the lowest common demonitator there. Once you reach a certain point, there's no hope in getting the audience to care about any of the 'cool' stuff you want to tell them about your knowledge and accomplishments.

How is the author of this article touting any personal accomplishments? Is your ego so fragile and pathetic that you need to tear down a person doing her job[well IMO]? Hmm? How old are you?

RE: heh...
By The0ne on 7/26/2010 5:19:25 PM , Rating: 2
It really is a no win for the author or person trying to put in words most could understand. If they get to technical and scientific, you get people confused. If you bring it down a notch or two you get people confused. The best thing is to just hope they are able to piece together and figure what you're trying to say within the realm of the subject.

For example, how one comes up with "fart" from "wind" in the subject of stars, galaxies, nebula's, etc., is apparently beyond my understanding. It's like a non-car person not knowing what a "dip stick" is and taking it as an offensive term....which errr....but not in the car subject :D

RE: heh...
By lexluthermiester on 7/26/2010 7:45:46 AM , Rating: 2
You see when I read the words "Unlike humans, these stars are born heavy and lose weight as they age.." I became immediately stupid. So stupid in fact that I could no longer remember how to read.

That really does say more about you that anything else. The original quote is not only easy to understand, but a very accurate metaphor for the reality of how stars work. When a star is forming it gains mass until there is less mass around it to be consumed than there is force of solar wind pushing it away. Once that phase of a stars formation is complete it is classified as "born". From that point forward the star only loses mass by way of it being expelled within the stars solar wind. It only ever gains mass again by way of collisions, and then the gain is very minor. From a purely scientific standpoint, the analogy was correct. And if you can not wrap your little mind around that VERY simple concept, then YOU have the problem, not the author of the article nor the scientist she quoted.

RE: heh...
By gutted on 7/22/2010 11:15:12 AM , Rating: 5
If you spent less time trying to be pretentious you would have seen that it was the lead researcher (whom presumedly has the "more hard technical data") that made that statement.

RE: heh...
By Motoman on 7/22/2010 12:10:30 PM , Rating: 2
Great. Now if you'll kindly do the same for the rest of DT's writers, the rest of us won't have to see your stupid posts either - since you're not going to be here.

RE: heh...
By InvertMe on 7/22/2010 3:05:18 PM , Rating: 2
While my posts may not usually offer anything of value they are not stupid :(

Why so touche'?

RE: heh...
By Veerappan on 7/22/2010 4:39:30 PM , Rating: 3
As has been mentioned by others, this was a quote from the researcher in the UK who helped discover this star, not Tracie.

Yes, I wouldn't mind getting exact RA/Dec coordinates (maybe even a Google Sky link) and a few more links to any published papers (List of references at the bottom would be welcome), but anyone who really wants the technical details can start at the referenced stories and go from there.

I was somewhat disappointed that R136a1 doesn't resolve in SIMBAD yet to exact coords, but I'll live.

By rs1 on 7/22/2010 3:33:54 PM , Rating: 2
This article seems to be essentially a trimmed-down version of the story that CNN posted yesterday:

There's nothing wrong with reposting news articles from other sites, per se, but how about at least adding a few of your own contributions? For instance, I'd be interested in the science behind how this star manages to avoid collapsing in on itself and becoming a black hole. It's certainly massive enough to do so, so why doesn't it?

RE: Copy
By Josett on 7/22/2010 11:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
A good point, at last.

Mainly because electromagnetic repulsion (fusing Hydrogen atoms into Helium ones) still overcomes its gravitational pull. Within some few hundreds of thousands of years (perhaps less; I didn't make the calculations), it most probably will become a black-hole.

Simplistically, and to get it into perspective, the assumed initial minimum for a star-like object to collapse into a b-h, is about 2,5 solar masses. This one was about 320.


RE: Copy
By Executor115 on 7/24/2010 10:01:49 AM , Rating: 2
A star this massive almost certainly will not form a black hole. Above about 130 solar masses, a dying star will undergo a pair-instability supernova instead of a core-collapse one that lower mass stars undergo and which produce neutron stars and black holes. A pair-instability supernova occurs when a star's core grows so hot that it beings producing photons with energies greater then the mass of an electron-positron pair. While the pair will usually annihilate each other and release another photon in a random direction, when this is happening the photon is basically stopped and not helping the star against gravity. A star depends on photon pressure to keep it in hydrostatic equilibrium with gravity. As the temperature increases, more high-energy photons are created, but the distance each one travels before some kind of interaction is actually decreasing. For a few seconds, the star collapses, fusing its entire core, but the huge release of thermal energy is far more then the gravitational binding energy, so the star simply explodes without leaving anything behind.

RE: Copy
By Josett on 7/24/2010 7:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
Good point.

Had to Wiki it but anyway...

250 solar masses or more

A different reaction mechanism, photodisintegration , results after collapse starts in stars of at least 250 solar masses. This endothermic reaction (energy-absorbing) causes the star to continue collapse into a black hole rather than exploding due to thermonuclear reactions.

Thanks for the pertinent post.


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