Telescope Spots 'Impossible' Star

Will become one of biggest and brightest in galaxy
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User
Posted May 11, 2010 8:40 AM CDT
This computer image provided by the European Space Agency Friday May 15, 2009 shows the Herschel-Planck fairing ejection in space. The Ariane-5 rocket took off Thursday and was loaded with the Herschel...   (AP Photo/ESA)
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(Newser) – The Herschel telescope has made an "impossible" discovery: a star so large it dwarfs our sun—and it's still growing. The newborn is already eight to 10 times the size of the sun, and will continue to feed off the 2,000 solar masses that surround it. While scientists are aware of other large stars, the fact that scientists spotted this one near the beginning of its life will allow them to hopefully unravel a mystery, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

"According to our current understanding, you should not be able to form stars larger than eight solar masses" because the intense light it emits should, in theory, blast away its birth clouds, stopping growth, explained a scientist. But these "impossible" stars do expand, and Herschel will finally allow scientists to watch one do just that. The telescope, launched one year ago, is the biggest ever sent into space, and is giving scientists new information about our galaxy, notes the AFP. Another finding: new star formation is slowing. They don't know why—yet.

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