Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Monster Super Star Cluster Discovered In Milky Way

Date:
May 30, 2005
Source:
Cardiff University
Summary:
European astronomers, including a scientist from Cardiff University, have discovered the largest known star cluster in the Milky Way. The super star cluster known as 'Westerlund 1' is made up of around 200,000 stars - some up to a million times brighter than the sun - and is a thousand times closer than any other, so far discovered.

European astronomers, including a scientist from Cardiff University, have discovered the largest known star cluster in the Milky Way. The super star cluster known as 'Westerlund 1' is made up of around 200,000 stars - some up to a million times brighter than the sun - and is a thousand times closer than any other, so far discovered.
Credit: Image courtesy of Cardiff University

European astronomers, including a scientist from Cardiff University, have discovered the largest known star cluster in the Milky Way.

The super star cluster known as 'Westerlund 1' is made up of around 200,000 stars - some up to a million times brighter than the sun - and is a thousand times closer than any other, so far discovered.

Westerlund 1 is estimated to be very young - somewhere between 4 or 5 million years old -- and contains thousands of huge stars, some weighing 30 or 40 times more than the Sun.

The cluster has been hidden behind a huge interstellar cloud of gas and dust in the Milky Way, blocking most of its visible light and was discovered using telescopes at the European Southern Observatory.

Now the team of astronomers from Cardiff University, University College London, University of Sheffield, University of Amsterdam, the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory and Universidad de Alicante will be able to probe the structure in detail to understand the finer details of star formation.

Simon Goodwin from Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy said: "We were amazed when we discovered quite what a monster this cluster was. All other super star clusters are many millions of light years away, but Westerlund 1 is in our backyard."

Since the cluster contains so many massive stars, it is estimated than in a time span of less than 40 million years, it will be the site of more than 1,500 supernovae..

Westerlund 1 now provides astronomers with one of the most extreme environments in the Universe to understand the long standing quest of how massive stars form.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cardiff University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cardiff University. "Monster Super Star Cluster Discovered In Milky Way." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 May 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050528143304.htm>.
Cardiff University. (2005, May 30). Monster Super Star Cluster Discovered In Milky Way. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050528143304.htm
Cardiff University. "Monster Super Star Cluster Discovered In Milky Way." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050528143304.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 23, 2014) A group of space explorers say the chance of a city-obliterating asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed. Deborah Gembara reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) The B612 Foundation says asteroids strike Earth much more often than previously thought, and are hoping to build an early warning system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Astronauts Step out on Spacewalk for ISS Repairs

Two US Astronauts Step out on Spacewalk for ISS Repairs

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) Two US astronauts stepped out on a brief spacewalk Wednesday to install a backup computer at the International Space Station after one failed earlier this month. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Chief Outlines Plan for Human Mission to Mars

NASA Chief Outlines Plan for Human Mission to Mars

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) NASA administrator Charles Bolden, speaking at the 'Human to Mars Summit' in Washington, says that learning more about the Red Planet can help answer the 'fundamental question' of 'life beyond Earth'. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins