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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.
Axar.az reports that, 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.
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.
2017.03.06 / 22:29