Stellar giants caught by Hubble's lens

Enlarge Image credit: Credits: NASA, ESA and Jesús Maíz Apellániz (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain) MORE IMAGES

This Hubble Space Telescope view of the Carina Nebula shows two massive stars in our galaxy, WR 25 [center] and Tr 16-244 [third-brightest star, above and to the left of WR 25], some 7,500 light-years away. (The bright, golden star directly to the left of WR 25 is less massive but is closer to Earth than the Carina Nebula, making it appear to be of similar size.) Both of these stellar heavyweights actually comprise multiple stars: WR 25 was shown in 2006 to be a binary star—and its heavier constituent is tens of times as massive as the sun in our solar system. Tr 16-244, while probably less massive than WR 25, is actually a three-star system.

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