Wide Field Imager image of Westerlund 1 (annotated)

This image of the young star cluster Westerlund 1 was taken with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. This remarkable cluster contains hundreds of very massive stars, some shining with a brilliance of almost one million suns. Although most stars in the cluster are hot blue supergiants, they appear reddish in this image as they are seen through interstellar dust and gas. European astronomers have for the first time demonstrated that the magnetar — an unusual type of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field — that lies in the cluster was formed from a star with at least 40 times as much mass as the Sun. The result presents great challenges to current theories of how stars evolve, as a star as massive as this was expected to become a black hole, not a magnetar.

Credit:

ESO

Over de afbeelding

Id:eso1034b
Type:Observatie
Publicatiedatum:18 augustus 2010 12:00
Gerelateerde berichten:eso1034
Grootte:1261 x 1261 px

Over het object

Naam:Westerlund 1
Type:Milky Way : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Neutron Star : Magnetar
Milky Way : Star : Grouping : Cluster
Afstand:15000 lichtjaren
Constellation:Ara
Categorie:Star Clusters

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Coordinates

Position (RA):16 47 4.02
Position (Dec):-45° 51' 5.46"
Field of view:5.00 x 5.00 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 0.1° right of vertical

 

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