noao9802 — Science Release
Astronomers Identify Most Massive Stars Yet Discovered
7 January 1998: Astronomers are announcing today the discovery of an extraordinary number of the most massive stars yet known, all concentrated within a single cloud of gas in a nearby galaxy. A conservative estimate by astronomers Dr. Phil Massey of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) in Tucson, AZ, and Dr. Deidre Hunter from Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ, places over a dozen stars more massive than 100 times the mass of the Sun within this one cluster. The most massive star may be 150 times the mass of the Sun, making it the most massive star yet found. In addition, the processes that control starbirth in this young, dense star cluster seem to be identical to star formation processes ongoing in more common, less dense star forming regions. The discovery leads astronomers to postulate we haven't yet encountered a physical limit to how massive a star can form in nature.