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Date: July 09, 2009 01:17AM
The Hubble Space Telescope has revealed two of the most massive stars in our
galaxy as never before. Located 7,500 light years away from Earth in the Carina
Nebula, these stars are rare ultra-hot, super-bright stars that emit primarily
ultraviolet radiation, that gives them a blue hue.
WR25, the brightest of the stars near the center of the image, is actually a
large star 50 times the size of our sun with another star half that size
orbiting around it. To the upper left of WR25, the third brightest star in this
image is really a triple star cluster. Two are so close together that telescopes
with less resolution can’t resolve them. The third star may take hundreds of
thousands of years to orbit around them.
The second brightest star, to the left in the image, is actually a less massive
star that appears bright because it is much closer to earth than the others.
Astronomers, led by Jesus Maiz Apellaniz at the Instituto de Astrofisico De
Andalucia in Spain, believe radiation from the two star clusters may be causing
a giant gas globule (shown in the image below) in the Carina Nebula to
evaporate, inducing new stars to form and giving the globule its strange shape.