Washington, September 20 : An international team of astrophysicists has found and "weighed" the most massive star to date, which has a mass 116 times greater than that of the Sun.
The team was led by Universite de Montreal researchers from the Centre de recherche en astrophysique du Quebec (CRAQ).
They 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.
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.