Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Astrophysicists 'Weigh' Galaxy's Most Massive Star

Date:
September 21, 2008
Source:
University of Montreal
Summary:
Theoretical models of stellar formation propose the existence of very massive stars that can attain up to 150 times the mass of our Sun. Until very recently, however, no scientist had discovered a star of more than 83 solar masses. Astrophysicists have now found and "weighed" the most massive star ever discovered.

Astrophysicists successfully "weighed" a star of a binary system with a mass 116 times greater than that of the Sun. Located in the massive star cluster NGC 3603, the supermassive star system, known under the name of A1, has a rotation period of 3.77 days.
Credit: CRAQ

Theoretical models of stellar formation propose the existence of very massive stars that can attain up to 150 times the mass of our Sun.

Related Articles


Until very recently, however, no scientist had discovered a star of more than 83 solar masses. Now an international team of astrophysicists, led by Université de Montréal researchers from the Centre de recherche en astrophysique du Québec (CRAQ), has found and "weighed" the most massive star to date.

Olivier Schnurr, Jules Casoli and André-Nicolas Chené, all graduates of the Université de Montréal, and professors Anthony F. J. Moffat and Nicole St-Louis, successfully "weighed" a star of a binary system with a mass 116 times greater than that of the Sun, waltzing with a companion of 89 solar masses, doubly beating the previous record and breaking the symbolic barrier of 100 solar masses for the first time.

Located in the massive star cluster NGC 3603, the supermassive star system, known under the name of A1, has a rotation period of 3.77 days. The masses were calculated by a combination of observations made with the SINFONI instrument, an integral field spectrograph operating on the Very Large Telescope on the site of the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) in Chile, and infrared images coming from the Hubble Space Telescope.

The stars forming the A1 system are so massive and bright that the light they transmit shows characteristics that only "Wolf-Rayet" stars possess. A Wolf-Rayet star is a hot, massive and evolved star exhibiting a very high loss of mass due to a strong stellar wind (similar to the solar wind). Within the context of this work, a binary system transmitting X-rays at a power almost never seen in our Galaxy was also discovered near NGC 3603-A1.

Note: NGC 3603 (entry number 3603 of the New General Catalogue) is a giant HII region in the Constellation Carina, in the Carina arm of our spiral Galaxy, the Milky Way, about 20,000 light years from the Sun. It was discovered by John Frederick William Herschel in 1834. NGC 3603 has an open cluster at its centre that contains approximately 2,000 bright and massive stars.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Montreal. "Astrophysicists 'Weigh' Galaxy's Most Massive Star." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080919142646.htm>.
University of Montreal. (2008, September 21). Astrophysicists 'Weigh' Galaxy's Most Massive Star. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080919142646.htm
University of Montreal. "Astrophysicists 'Weigh' Galaxy's Most Massive Star." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080919142646.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) — Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

Soyuz Spacecraft Docks With International Space Station: NASA

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Italy's first female astronaut safely docks with the International Space Station, according to NASA. Duration: 00:40 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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