Westerlund 1 Super Star Cluster

In this image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, you can see Westerlund 1 (The Ara Cluster). It is a super star cluster located in the constellation of Ara (The Altar, https://goo.gl/lW9xGr), about 15,000 light-years away from Earth.

The Westerlund 1 super star cluster is one of the most massive young star clusters (about 3 million years old) in the Milky Way Galaxy. The cluster contains a number of high-mass stars such as supergiants, hypergiants, and Wolf-Rayet stars. One of the massive stars in the cluster is Westerlund 1-26 (Wd 1-26, https://goo.gl/QHVfi0).

Wd 1-26 is one of the largest stars known, its size is approximately 1,530 solar radii, so big that placed at the center of the Solar System, its photosphere (https://goo.gl/b3Jncm), the stars outer shell, would engulf the orbit of Jupiter. It is a red supergiant (https://goo.gl/fz1C03) or hypergiant (https://goo.gl/Alr2RI) with a luminosity about 380,000 times that of our Sun.

Westerlund 1 was discovered in 1961 by the Swedish astronomer Bengt Westerlund (https://goo.gl/bduzr0).

More information here:
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1710a/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westerlund_1

What is an open cluster?

An open cluster is a group of up to a few thousand stars that have their origin in the same stellar nursery and are of roughly the same age. They are bound together by their gravitational forces. A super star cluster (https://goo.gl/GdZUEc) is a a more massive young open cluster. More information here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_cluster

Image credit: Westerlund 1-26 ESA/Hubble & NASA https://goo.gl/YOfBmU CC BY 4.0 https://goo.gl/hNRHCd

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#science #astronomy #westerlund1 #westerlund126 #supergiant #hypergiant #starcluster #superstarcluster #hubble #hst #space #opencluster #wd1 #wd126
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