Astronomers with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have found the heaviest star ever seen - 80 times the mass of
our Sun - and it's got a twin. Located 20,000 light-years from Earth, the two massive stars in WR 20a go around each other
every 3.7 days. These two stars are just 2 to 3 million years old, and highly unstable. It'll only be a few
more million years before they explode, one after the other as supernovas.
WR 20a is part of the Westerlund 2 star cluster, which resides in a region of ionized hydrogen left over from the cluster's
formation in the constellation Carina. WR 20a contains two hot, young Wolf-Rayet stars-a type of star that is extremely rare
The gigantic twin stars. [Credit:NASA]