What is R136a1?

British astronomers have discovered the biggest star of the Universe and it has been named R136a1.

  • It is a blue hyper giant star with an estimated 265 solar masses. The star also holds the record for the most luminous at 10, times the luminosity of the Sun.
  • Like other hyper giant stars that sit above the Eddington limit, R136a1 has been shedding large portions of its own mass in violent outbursts.
  • It is estimated that at its birth the star held 320 solar masses and has been losing 50 solar masses every few million years.
  • It is a member of R136, a Super star cluster near the center of the 30 Doradus complex which is also known as the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

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