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Space Science

Monster Hypergiant Star Discovered 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-big-or-go-home dept.
astroengine writes "A gargantuan star, measuring 1,300 times the size of our sun, has been uncovered 12,000 light-years from Earth — it is one of the ten biggest stars known to exist in our galaxy. The yellow hypergiant even dwarfs the famous stellar heavyweight Betelgeuse by 50 percent. While its hulking mass may be impressive, astronomers have also realized that HR 5171 is a double star with a smaller stellar sibling physically touching the surface of the larger star as they orbit one another. 'The new observations also showed that this star has a very close binary partner, which was a real surprise,' said Olivier Chesneau, of the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur in Nice, France. 'The two stars are so close that they touch and the whole system resembles a gigantic peanut.'"
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Monster Hypergiant Star Discovered

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  • HTF does that work? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @03:37PM (#46467413)

    The smaller part isn't "in orbit" in the traditional sense otherwise drag would pull it in. It's more like an asteroid that's too small for gravity to collapse it into a sphere, yet this thing is *just the opposite* in terms of size. The only thing I can think of is that the system must have absolutely stupendous spin and angular momentum. Either that, or there's a careful balance between the force pulling it in, and the heat pushing it away. That's more amazing to me than the size. How long can a system like that last in this form? Plainly it's stable enough for humans to emerge and observe it; but what do our models say about how such a beast forms and maintains itself?

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