News Release Archive:

News Release 7 of 37

October 8, 1997 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1997-33

Hubble Identifies What May Be the Most Luminous Star Known

October 8, 1997: Astronomers using the Hubble telescope have identified what may be the most luminous star known ? a celestial mammoth that releases up to 10 million times the power of the Sun and is big enough to fill the diameter of Earth's orbit. The star [center of image] unleashes as much energy in six seconds as our Sun does in one year.

The image, taken in infrared light, also reveals a bright nebula [magenta-colored material], created by extremely massive stellar eruptions. The nebula is so big (4 light-years) that it would nearly span the distance from the Sun to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to Earth's solar system.

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Credit: Don F. Figer (UCLA) and NASA