Wide Field Imager image of Westerlund 1 (annotated)

This image of the young star cluster Westerlund 1 was taken with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. This remarkable cluster contains hundreds of very massive stars, some shining with a brilliance of almost one million suns. Although most stars in the cluster are hot blue supergiants, they appear reddish in this image as they are seen through interstellar dust and gas. European astronomers have for the first time demonstrated that the magnetar — an unusual type of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field — that lies in the cluster was formed from a star with at least 40 times as much mass as the Sun. The result presents great challenges to current theories of how stars evolve, as a star as massive as this was expected to become a black hole, not a magnetar.

Credit:

ESO

About the Image

Id:eso1034b
Type:Observation
Release date:18 August 2010, 12:00
Related releases:eso1034
Size:1261 x 1261 px

About the Object

Name:Westerlund 1
Type:Milky Way : Star : Evolutionary Stage : Neutron Star : Magnetar
Milky Way : Star : Grouping : Cluster
Distance:15000 light years
Constellation:Ara
Category:Star Clusters

Image Formats

Large JPEG
416.4 KB
Screensize JPEG
231.9 KB

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Wallpapers

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1600x1200
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725.8 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):16 47 4.02
Position (Dec):-45° 51' 5.46"
Field of view:5.00 x 5.00 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 0.1° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandTelescope
Optical
B
MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
WFI
Optical
V
MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
WFI
Optical
R
MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
WFI

 

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