Pistol Star


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Pistol Star

One of the most luminous and most massive stars in our Galaxy. It has been estimated to have a luminosity of up to 10 million times the luminosity of the Sun and an original mass of around 200 times the mass of the Sun. It almost certainly has already shed a large fraction of its initial mass, forming the nebula that gave it its name in the process.
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But, next Tuesday, the former Sex Pistol star who launched his career screaming "I am an Antichrist" will be ensconced in the classical music venue in Paradise Place - ready to wax lyrical about his extraordinary life.
Astronomers have identified stars with masses that probably exceed 100 Suns, such as Eta Carinae (last month's issue, page 42), the Pistol Star near the Milky Way's center (April 2003, page 50), and LBV 1806-20 (April 2004, page 20).
And when Jordan said that liposuction on her legs was the worst thing she ever did, the Sex Pistol star said that ex-band mate Steve Jones had it on his stomach.
It's called the Pistol Star because it is the source of a giant cloud of dust and gas.
Yet for all its dazzle, you won't see the Pistol Star with your naked eye, or even through the most powerful telescopes on Earth.
Just as celebrity photographers use a telephoto lens to snap Hollywood superstars, astronomers turned a new supercamera on the very venter of the Milky Way to catch the elusive Pistol Star.
The giant Pistol Star is TEN MILLION times more powerful than the sun.
The Pistol Star, named after the shape of the gas cloud surrounding it, is 25,000 light years away, close to the centre of our galaxy.
Astronomers said the shape of the nebula reminded them of a pistol, and named its source the Pistol Star.
Figer and Morris said the Pistol Star was so massive when it was born that it brought into question current thinking about how stars were formed.
These include the Arches and Quintuplet massive-star clusters, the Pistol Star, and the Pistol Nebula.
The Pistol Star is a strong candidate for the title of the most massive star known, apparently weighing in at as much as 200 to 250 Suns.