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 Hubble Space Telescope Photographs Extragalactical Stellar
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Hubble Space Telescope Photographs Extragalactical Stellar Nursery

February 5, 2005
NASA is releasing today a Hubble Space Telescope (HST) photograph of the most remarkable star forming region in the Local Group of Galaxies, 30 Doradus. The photograph shows about 60 stars within a central tight cluster in 30 Doradus. In contrast, earlier photographs with groundbased telescopes, supplemented by mathematical analysis, have shown only 27 stars in the tight cluster, which is called R136. Before the groundbased studies showed that so many stars are present in R136, some astronomers thought it was a single, supermassive object, with as much as 3,000 times the mass of the Sun. This recent HST photograph, shows even more individual stars within R136. Furthermore, its high resolution suggests that some of the stars have more than 100 times the mass of the Sun. That would make them among the most massive stars ever identified.


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