The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into Earth’s lower orbit in 1990, and it had some impressive achievements while aimed towards the depths of the Universe: it discovered two moons of Pluto (Hydra and Nix), it helped pin down the age of the Universe to 13.8 billion years, it helped determine the expansion rate of the Universe, and more.
SciTechDaily.com brings the news of the Hubble Telescope capturing unique images of the giant star known as AG Carinae, one of the brightest objects from our Milky Way galaxy. The star shines with the brilliance of 1 million suns, and it’s also incredibly hot.
The astronomers aimed their gear at the ‘celebrity star’ that’s surrounded by a halo of gas and dust.
20,000 light-years away
The AG Carinae giant star is located 20,000 light-years away from us. That is obviously a huge distance, and if we want to have a better clue of how far it is, we must consider that our Milky Way galaxy, which has between 100 and 200 billion stars, measures about 100,000 light-years in diameter.
AG Carinae is only a few million years old, and such stars live a lot less than those similar to our Sun. While AG Carinae will live for only a few million years, our Sun has a lifetime of 10 billion years, almost as much as the current age of the Universe itself.
But things are far from predictable when it comes to the giant star captured by Hubble, as Kerstin Weis, who is a luminous blue variable expert at Ruhr University from Bochum, Germany, also suggests:
I like studying these kinds of stars because I am fascinated by their instability. They are doing something weird.
The Hubble Space Telescope was named after the great American astronomer Edwin Hubble, who made crucial discoveries such as figuring out that the Universe is expanding and that Milky Way is far from being the only galaxy in existence.