Astronomers have revealed a surprise for the largest star in the universe

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 Astronomers have revealed a surprise for the largest star in the universe

Astronomers have revealed a surprise for the largest star in the universe

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Astronomers say new observations show that the largest star observed in the universe is not as large as previously estimated, indicating that this would hold true for other large stars.

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The star R136a1 (R136a1) is located in the Tarantula Nebula, a group of stars in the so-called Magellanic Cloud near the Milky Way (including Earth), and its discovery dates back to 1985. In 2010, a team of astronomers classified it as The biggest star in the world. So far, it has been noticed. Scientists believe that the star has a mass greater than the size of the Sun is 320 times the size of the Sun, but recent observations have forced a revision of these estimates, indicating that it is only 250 times larger. 

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Chile estimates its mass between 170 and 230 solar masses. The study's lead author, an astronomer at the NoirLab Center in the US who operates the two telescopes of Gemini and Venus Calaris, said our results show that the largest star we currently know is not as large as we thought. He added in a statement issued on Thursday. This indicates the upper limit of mass. Stars may also be smaller than we think, and it is difficult to observe the largest and brightest stars in the universe, such as R136a1, first of all because their lives are relatively very short, limited to a few million years, while the lifespan of the Sun is tens of billions of years. 

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The second reason is that it generally recedes within compact clusters of stellar dust, the brightness of which is difficult to accurately measure, given that it is this brightness that determines the mass of the star. The Noir Lab team obtained the most accurate image of the star in the cluster, and as a result star R136a1 used a technique called interferometry.

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  • The center's Zorro Imaging Center took a very large number of images, 40,000, with extremely short exposure times, which allowed it to avoid distorting the Earth's atmosphere on the lens.
  • Since previously used observational techniques have not yet been applied to such targets, the study's authors treat their results with caution, pending more efficient instruments to improve measurements, such as the Very Large Telescope (ELT), expected to be operational in 2027, Kalari said.

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