Latest Arches Cluster Stories
Using ESOâ€™s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have obtained one of the sharpest views ever of the Arches Cluster â€” an extraordinary dense cluster of young stars near the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way.
Call it the Bermuda Triangle of our Milky Way Galaxy: a tiny patch of sky that has been known for years to be the source of the mysterious blasts of X-rays and gamma rays. Now, a team of astronomers, led by Don Figer of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md., has solved the mystery by identifying one of the most massive star clusters in the galaxy.
Astronomers have found a vast loop-like structure, 20 light years across, adjacent to the most massive star-forming region known in our galaxy. The loop, which was observed in X-ray wavelengths, is 15 times the size of the Arches Cluster, a star-forming region close to the centre of the Milky Way.
Astronomers have taken an important step toward establishing a weight limit for stars. 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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