06:52 GMT +325 March 2017

    NASA Captures Vivid Pictures of Giant Superstar Cluster (PHOTO)

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    NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured a breathtaking picture of Westerlund 1, a cluster of giant stars located about 15,000 light-years from Earth.

    One of the most outstanding stars in the cluster is W26, a red supergiant. The star has quite an impressive size: it is 330,000 times brighter and 1,500 times bigger than the sun.

    The star's mass is difficult to identify because of its high activity and the low density of its outer shell, however astronomers believe that it exceeds that of the sun by dozens of times.

    "If this giant star was placed where our Sun is in the Solar System, it would extend out beyond the orbit of Jupiter," the website sci-news.com wrote.

    Westerlund 1-26
    Westerlund 1-26

    In the last couple of years, the giant star was discovered to release into the atmosphere a huge amount of emissions, surrounding itself with a gigantic mantle of hot plasma. Recent calculations by astrophysicists show that the emissions have spread over a distance of about four light-years and form a nebula, clearly visible to telescopes.

    Scientists hope that further observations of W26 and other unusual stars in the cluster will help us understand the role played by giant star clusters in the formation and evolution of galaxies.


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    • avatar
      there's an interesting presentation on YT about the size of stars, just how massive they can be. We are really in a very out of the way part of the galaxy - fortunately.
    • supportin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, this is a great picture, yes? I wonder what it would look like if the yet-to-be-invented Heisenberg effect compensating lens is ever developed. It will probably resemble one of the dragons which fly over Mother Russia to protect her or perhaps like flowers in Mokosh's garland.

      Here is a 24/7 livestream of space and Earth from the ISS courtesy of NASA (I am sure they use Krosnoyarsk lenses on many of the the cameras as the resolution is so crisp :>) If a visitng tiny nephew or niece puts their pet guinea pig in the garbage compactor, it might be useful and calming to consult this site: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzMQza8xZCc

      The music accompanying the livestream is good but a bit New Age-like. Space is definitely full-blown and heavily orchestrated Shostakovich to me either that or Wolfgang Korngold.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply tosupport(Show commentHide comment)
      support, I have a print of the cover of the JPL Annual Report 1976-77 showing Earth and the Moon as well as the report itself. :) As for the music, give me Jupiter (not Holst) but the real sounds - add that to sounds of the Sun and there is nature's music.:) Will now check the link! Thanks! :)
    • supportin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, the tragedy is that NASA puts out wonderful and well-prepared documents and other media but no one reads or views them except perhaps 20 or 25 people a month.
    • avatar
      michaelin reply tosupport(Show commentHide comment)
      support, agreed, I for one don't visit often enough. I will put it down for the kids to check out and they can be my de facto attention as well as to learn! :)
    • supportin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, sounds like a good plan! If they are technically an daesthetically minded they will disappear into the NASA sites for days at a stretch once they get the hang of how it is organized.
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