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Waspie_Dwarf

Mystery of the “monster stars" cracked

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Astronomers crack mystery of the “monster stars"

In 2010 scientists discovered four 'monster' sized stars, with the heaviest more than 300 times as massive as our Sun. Despite their incredible luminosity, these exotic objects, located in the giant star cluster R136 in the nearby galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud; have oddly so far been found nowhere else. Now a group of astronomers at the University of Bonn have a new explanation: the ultramassive stars were created from the merger of lighter stars in tight binary systems. The team present their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), at a distance of 160000 light years, is the third nearest satellite of the Milky Way galaxy we live in and contains around 10 billion stars. The LMC has many star forming regions, with by far the most active being the 1000 light year diameter 'Tarantula Nebula' where the four supermassive stars are found. This cloud of gas and dust is a highly fertile breeding ground of stars in the LMC also known as the "30 Doradus" (30 Dor) complex. Near the centre of 30 Dor is R136, by far the brightest stellar nursery not just in the LMC but in the entire 'Local Group' of more than 50 galaxies (including our own) and the site of the perplexing ultramassive stars.

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Posted (edited)

Interesting read...

I wonder if the LMC's proximity to our massive Milky Way Galaxy contributes to this? Probably not... but could it contribute to the concentration of gasses by some form of 'tidal force' which causes the large stars to form close enough together to collide?

Edited by Taun

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I don't think that the LMC proximity contributes to this, but it is probably the reason so many discoveries are made there.

Most galaxies are too far away to make observations of individual stars. On the other hand our position inside the Milky Way galaxy means it can be difficult to see individual stars even though they are much closer. It is like trying to observe individual trees whilst standing in a huge, dense forest.

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I don't think that the LMC proximity contributes to this, but it is probably the reason so many discoveries are made there.

Most galaxies are too far away to make observations of individual stars. On the other hand our position inside the Milky Way galaxy means it can be difficult to see individual stars even though they are much closer. It is like trying to observe individual trees whilst standing in a huge, dense forest.

I quite agree with all of that... But isn't Andromeda close enough to get good observations of individual stars - especially the super massive ones? It's what, about 2 and a half million LY's distant? granted that's about 15 times further away than the LMC - but isn't it close enough to see if anything similar is happening there - and by extension possibly happening in our own galaxy?

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