Washington, July 22 (ANI): Astronomers have discovered the most massive stars to date, one weighing at birth more than 300 times the mass of the Sun.
Paul Crowther, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sheffield and his colleagues made the discovery using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), as well as archival data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Spaceelescope.
Several stars in the two clusters discovered have temperatures of more than 40, 000 degrees, more than seven times hotter than our Sun, and a few tens of times larger and several million times brighter.
"Unlike humans, these stars are born heavy and lose weight as they age," says Paul Crowther.
If R136a1, the most extreme star, replaced the Sun in our Solar System, its mass would reduce the length of the Earth's year to three weeks and it would cover the Earth in intense UV radiations, said Raphael Hirschi from Keele University, who belongs to the team.
Not only is R136a1 the most massive star ever found, but it also has the highest luminosity too, close to 10 million times greater than the Sun.
"Our new finding supports the previous view that there is also an upper limit to how big stars can get, although it raises the limit by a factor of two, to about 300 solar masses," said team member Olivier Schnurr from the Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam.
However, the experts haven't yet been able to understand how the stars form such high mass.
"Either they were born so big or smaller stars merged together to produce them," explains Crowther. (ANI)