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A near infrared image of the R136 cluster. R136a1 is at the center with R136a2 close by, R136a3 below right, and R136b to the left. ESO/VLT

R136a1 is the largest known star.[1] It is a Wolf–Rayet star at the center of R136.

Ri36 is the central group of stars of the large NGC 2070 open cluster in the Tarantula nebula. The nebula lies about 50 kiloparsecs (163,000 light-years) in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

R136a1 has 265 the mass of the Sun, and 8.7 million times its luminosity. It is also one of the hottest at over 50,000 K.[2] The cluster is only about 1.5 million years old, and is pouring out a huge amount of energy. Together, they outshine our Sun by a factor of 30 million.[1]

The star is the largest of nine huge stars in the cluster.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 An outstanding illustration is at Amos, Jonathan 2016. Hubble telescope spies stellar 'land of giants'. BBC News Science & Environment. [1]
  2. Crowther P.A. et al 2016. The R136 star cluster dissected with Hubble Space Telescope/STIS. I. Far-ultraviolet spectroscopic census and the origin of He II λ1640 in young star clusters. Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. [2]