Astronomers Have Taken The Sharpest Image Ever Of The Most Massive Known Star – And It Looks Absolutely Huge

Do you want to know the mass of the most massive star in the universe? Why not. Thanks to the sophisticated space instruments that made us capable of finding out the tiniest of details about the universe. To that end, astronomers have determined the mass of the biggest star in the universe by capturing some of its sharpest images through an observatory known as the “Zorro instrument.” With this, they were able to ascertain the size of this star and how big it could further get. The research has been published in The Astrophysical Journal. However, the team also made a detailed video in which they mentioned specific details about the work they performed during the entire process. You can see the video embedded below:

The massive star, dubbed R136a1, is positioned at 160,000 light years away from the Earth, specifically located in “the Tarantula Nebula of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy that orbits our own Milky Way,” as per the research. This massive colossal star is anticipated to be around 250 to 300 times bigger than that of the Sun. However, it should be noted that the exact mass of the star can be calculated precisely through its temperature and brightness. As far as R136a1 is concerned, it is a star located in a cluster, which means that it gets light from its nearby stars as well.

The Zorro instrument was used to take the sharpest images of this massive star. The instrument was positioned at about an 8.1-m (26.6-ft) Gemini South telescope in Chile, and the pictures have been captured through a technique called “speckle imaging”. The specialty of this instrument is that when Earth’s atmosphere blurs the stars and other astronomical objects, then the instrument adjusts the focus by providing an exposure time of 60 milliseconds to thousands of shots per minute.

After combining all of these shots, a precise and “sharpest” image can be generated. Hence, using the speckle imaging approach, the team has finally managed to compile the results of this research, and it came out that the massive star ranges between 170 and 230 solar masses. The results are unexpected because the previous approximations regarding the mass of this massive star were significantly greater than this result. The team said, “It could also indicate that the upper limit for possible star masses is lower than previously thought, which would mean that certain types of supernova would be rarer, which in turn would affect the abundance of metals in the universe.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *