A University of Florida-led team of astronomers may have discovered the brightest star yet observed in the universe, a fiery behemoth that could be as much as much as seven times brighter than the current record holder
But dont expect to find the star – which is at least 5 million times brighter than the sun – in the night sky. Dust particles between Earth and the star block out all of its visible light. Whereas the sun is located only 8.3 light minutes from Earth, the bright star is 45,000 light years away, on the other side of the galaxy. It is detectable only with instruments that measure infrared light, which has longer wavelengths that can better penetrate the dust.
In a National Science Foundation-funded study scheduled to be presented today at the American Astronomical Society national conference in Atlanta, the team says the star is at least as bright as the Pistol Star, the current record holder, so named for the pistol-shaped nebula surrounding it. Whereas the Pistol Star is between 5 million and 6 million times as bright as the sun, however, the new contender, LBV 1806-20, could be as much as 40 million times the suns brightness.
Aaron Hoover | EurekAlert!
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