Brighter shining than the sun

For the Just Too Cool file.  Or should that be Just TOO HOT?

Scientists find most massive star ever discovered

LONDON – A huge ball of brightly burning gas drifting through a neighboring galaxy may be the heaviest star ever discovered — hundreds of times more massive than the sun, scientists said Wednesday after working out its weight for the first time.

Those behind the find say the star, called R136a1, may once have weighed as much as 320 solar masses. Astrophysicist Paul Crowther said the obese star — twice as heavy as any previously discovered — has already slimmed down considerably over its lifetime.

In fact, it’s burning itself off with such intensity that it shines at nearly 10 million times the luminosity of the sun.

"Unlike humans, these stars are born heavy and lose weight as they age," said Crowther, an astrophysicist at the University of Sheffield in northern England. "R136a1 is already middle-aged and has undergone an intense weight loss program."


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  1. JohnE says:

    First order of business is to give “R136a1” a better name.

  2. Oleksander says:

    This really is quite something, the largest previous known star was 100 solar masses (and i tink scientists thought at the time that was as big as they can get) this one is over 300 solar masses, amazing

  3. Thomas S says:

    “First order of business is to give ‘R136a1’ a better name.”

    How about naming it for St. Thomas Aquinas? He was certainly a huge figure in history, in more ways than one!

  4. teomatteo says:

    a name? hows ’bout “Stella Magna 1”

  5. Adrianne says:

    Hmm. Middle-aged, overweight star. Perhaps Russell Crowe?

  6. Clinton says:

    Hmmm. Begins its’ life as a blinding huge star, and ends up as a shadow of its former self?

    How ’bout ‘Norma Desmond I’? Any satellite could be named ‘von Stroheim’…

    Seriously, with all of that light, radiation and gravitational pull, life for anything unfortunate enough to be nearby would get uncomfortable
    mighty quickly.

  7. Andrew says:

    “… scientists said Wednesday after working out its weight.”
    Its weight? How can you work out its weight? Relative to what? Earthly gravity? A body THAT large? That’s a relative statement. These “scientists” leave me puzzled. And why was something that big and that bright not discovered until now? Were they looking out the other window with their telescope? Was there a large tree in the way?

  8. Rachel says:

    “Obese Star”. It’s like the name of a band, or a blog.

  9. Ismael says:

    @ Andrew

    I doubt it has nothing to do with the “scientists” who have discovered the star.

    It’s more probabile that “RAPHAEL G. SATTER” who wrote the article does not know the difference between weight and mass :P

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