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No. 35: Sep-Oct 1984

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Monster Star Lurks Nearby

Astrophysicists have long believed that the upper limit for stellar masses was 100 times that of the sun. This rule seems to be violated right on our doorstep -- in the Large Cloud of Magellan. The nonconforming object is designated R136; and it resides in the southern constellation Doradus. The central part of R136 radiates about a million times more visible light than our sun, and 50 million times more if the ultraviolet wavelengths are included. If R136 is a single object, its mass may be 1,000 times that of the sun.

(Mathis, John S., et al; "A Superluminous Object in the Large Cloud of Magellan," Scientific American, 251:52, August 1984.)

From Science Frontiers #35, SEP-OCT 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss