Supermassive star cluster revealed far from our sun

30.03.2005

30.03.2005


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Group of European astronomers could determine the nature of supermassive star cluster, consisting primarily of young, bright and massive stars, some of which are thousands of times larger and millions of times brighter than the Sun. What's particularly amazing to astronomers, is the fact that Westerlund 1 is located closer to the solar system, all the other well-known star clusters — right inside our galaxy.

The first record of it were obtained in 1961 (the discoverer was a Swedish astronomer Bengt Westerlund, whose name is called and congestion. Because of observers on Earth hides its huge gas-dust cloud that blocks almost all of the light in the visible range, for a long time, astronomers could not understand that this cluster represents. In 2001, however, despite the dimming ratio, reached a value of 100000, in the cluster have found dozens of bright and hot stars.

And now it became apparent that within it are thousands of svermassivnyh and bright stars, some of them in size by more than 2 million times greater than the sun, so that, according to preliminary estimates, in the next 40 million years, there will occur a minimum , 1.5 thousand supernova explosions. Besides, located in the same cluster yellow supergiants as blocked before it was known in the galaxy.

In all of this cluster is very compact — only six light years in diameter, so that Westerlund 1 is presumably much heavier and denser than other clusters, which are located in the central regions of the galaxy. To confirm or refute this for sure, will require more detailed studies in the infrared.

In any case, in such a tightness (a star in this cluster, apparently, are on average not farther apart than the planets of the solar system) may occur between the entities srednemassivnyh black holes. Astronomers assume that these objects already exist in the core of Westerlund 1, but, again, it will only confirm further observations.

28.03.2005

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