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 December 21, 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 December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — More than a year after NASA declared the Kepler spacecraft broken beyond repair, scientists have figured out how to continue getting useful data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 16, 2014) — NASA's Mars Curiosity rover finds methane in the Martian atmosphere and organic chemicals in the planet's soil, the latest hint that Mars was once suitable for microbial life. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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