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HubbleSite Hubble Weighs in on the Heaviest Stars in the Galaxy


Space Telescope Science

Unlike humans, stars are born with all the weight they will ever have. A human's birth weight varies by just a few pounds, but a star's weight ranges from less than a tenth to more than 100 times the mass of our Sun. Although astronomers know that stars come in a variety of masses, they are still stumped when it comes to figuring out if stars have a weight limit at birth. Now astronomers have taken an important step toward establishing a weight limit for stars. Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers made the first direct measurement within our Milky Way Galaxy that stars have a limit to how large they can form. Studying the densest known cluster of stars in our galaxy, the Arches cluster, astronomers determined that stars are not created any larger than about 150 times the mass of our Sun, or 150 solar masses.

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