Most massive star known is found

Space scientists have discovered the “heaviest” star yet found in the universe, at 114 times the mass of the Sun. It lies 20,000 light years away in the constellation of Carina.

The monster starThey used the Hubble Space Telescope together with Europe’s Very Large Telescope in Chile to “weigh” the monster, dubbed A1.

It is the brightest in a cluster of stars called NGC 3603 and has a smaller companion which is another giant, 84 times the mass of the Sun. The two stars are in orbit around each other.

News of the discovery was revealed at a conference at Kingston, Canada, today by Professor Anthony Moffat of the University of Montreal. His team weighed the stars by observing how they circled each other.

Theory suggests that stars with as much as 150 times the mass of the Sun could inhabit our part of the universe but none has previously been found with more than 83 times its mass.

Astronomers talk about stars in terms of mass rather than weight because weight actually depends on the force of gravity. Picture: Universite de Montreal.

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Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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