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NASA's Hubble reveals a remarkable galactic hybrid

NASA has revealed a young super star cluster known as Westerlund 1 in an image captured by its Hubble spacecraft.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Mar 11, 2017, 23:33 PM IST
NASA's Hubble reveals a remarkable galactic hybrid
Photo Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

New Delhi: NASA has revealed a young super star cluster known as Westerlund 1 in an image captured by its Hubble spacecraft.

According to NASA, Westerlund 1 is only 15,000 light-years away in our Milky Way neighborhood, yet home to one of the largest stars ever discovered.

Stars are classified according to their spectral type, surface temperature, and luminosity. While studying and classifying the cluster’s constituent stars, astronomers discovered that Westerlund 1 is home to an enormous star.

The young super star cluster was originally named Westerlund 1-26 and the monster star is a red supergiant (although sometimes classified as a hypergiant) with a radius over 1,500 times that of our sun.

If Westerlund 1-26 were placed where our sun is in our solar system, it would extend out beyond the orbit of Jupiter as per reports.

As per the US space agency, most of Westerlund 1’s stars are thought to have formed in the same burst of activity, meaning that they have similar ages and compositions. The cluster is relatively young in astronomical terms —at around three million years old it is a baby compared to our own sun, which is some 4.6 billion years old.