Astronomers find giant stars in neighbouring galaxies

starryStarry.Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

A group of astronomers have discovered a surprisingly large number of giant stars, ten times larger than our own sun, in a galaxy not far from our own.


According to the British newspaper The Independent, nearly a thousand so-called ‘giant stars’ were found in 30 Doradus, part of the galaxy, ‘The Great Magellan Nebula’.

In the universe, such massive stars are considered rare. The researchers were surprised when they found one third more than they’d expected.

‘We discovered them in this great star-forming area and thought, wow, there are actually far more than we thought,’ said astronomer, Fabian Schneider at Oxford University. He leads a group of international researchers who have published the discovery in the scientific journal, ‘Science’.

Giant Stars

30 Doradus is one of the regions of the universe where stars are born in huge molecular clouds of gas and dust.

‘These materials collapse under their own gravity, and in this context they form stars,’ explained Schneider.

According to the newspaper, it had hitherto been assumed that under 1% of stars are considered giants. A star delegated this term is over ten times greater in size than than the sun.

The researchers believe this discovery could help change the image of the universe’s composition. It is now believed that such a number may also be found elsewhere.


In addition to the surprisingly large number, researchers have also found indications that the stars are as big as 200 times the sun’s mass.

‘These stars are monsters. They are extremely large. A star 100 times larger than the sun produces a brightness of about one million times that of our own sun,’ Schneider pointed out.

Stars are cosmic motors that produce strong radiation and solar wind. Through these mechanisms, the stars shape the universe as we know it. And the bigger a star is, the greater the impact it has upon its surroundings. Therefore, it’s important to chart how many such giant stars are found.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today