The clearest picture of the most massive of the famous stars shows its true size

The clearest picture of the most massive of the famous stars shows its true size

Using the Gemini South telescope in Chile, astronomers have received the clearest picture of the star R136a1, the most massive star known in the universe. The results show that we have overestimated the object. This study calls into question our understanding of the most massive stars and suggests that they may not be as massive as previously thought. The details of the study are published in the journal .

It is not yet clear how the most massive stars are formed. These two factors, combined with the enormous astronomical distances that separate us from these objects, make it difficult to characterize them accurately.

However, R136a1 has been considered for several years.

According to previous observations, its mass is 250 to 320 times the mass of the Sun, but for the reasons given above, the exact estimation of its mass has always been a difficult task, and the mass of the star is measured by measuring its luminance and temperature and comparing it with projections based on its type.

To help measure more accurately the mass of this star, the team, led by astronomer Venu M. Kalari, recently took the most clear images of R136a.1 To date, they used the Zorro tool installed on the Gemini South telescope.

The use of this tool was not random. It is capable of overcoming the blurry of images caused by the Earth ' s atmosphere. To do so, it takes thousands of pictures per minute, each of which has the time to expound for only sixty milliseconds. Under such conditions, the atmosphere fails to blur individual images. When combined, these elements give a much clearer picture of the star.

These images enabled researchers to calculate more accurately the mass of R136a1. Then they found that the star was less massive than previously thought. Although its mass had been revised downwards, it was still the most massive star known today.

However, this new work may indicate that the mass of other stars is also lower than previously thought. It will have important consequences. Certain types of supernovas will be rarer, which will affect the abundance of metals in the universe.