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March 17, 2016 11:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2016-10

Hubble Unveils Monster Stars

A News Nugget Release

March 17, 2016: An international team of astronomers using the ultraviolet capabilities of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has identified nine monster stars with masses over 100 times the mass of the sun in the star cluster R136. This makes for the largest sample of very massive stars identified to date. The results, which will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, raise many new questions about the formation of massive stars. R136 is only a few light-years across and is located in the Tarantula Nebula within the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 170,000 light-years away from Earth. The young cluster hosts many extremely massive, hot, and luminous stars whose energy is mostly radiated in the ultraviolet.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Crowther (University of Sheffield)