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HR 5171 A Is The Largest Ever Yellow Hyper-giant Star

Update Date: Mar 16, 2014 10:46 PM EDT
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Scientists have discovered the largest ever yellow hyper-giant star that is 1,300 times the diameter of the Sun. The star is being dubbed as HR 5171. 

Researchers said that the observations from the past 60 years are showing that the hypergiant is changing quickly. They added that it was found during a short phase of its life. 

The star is 50 percent bigger than the red supergiant Betelguese and almost 1 billion times brighter than the Sun.

"The new observations also showed that this star has a very close binary partner, which was a real surprise," said Olivier Chesneau from the Observatory de la Cote d'Azur in Nice, France in the press release. "The two stars are so close that they touch, and the whole system resembles a gigantic peanut."

The discovered star is 12,000 light years away but is bright enough to be discovered by the naked eye under proper conditions.

Yellow supergiants are one of the rarest types of stars and by far only 12 are known in the galaxy.

The team also discovered that the star of HR 5171 A orbited every 1300 days and the companion is slightly hotter than the surface temperature of 5000 degrees Celsius of HR 5171A.

Scientists used a technique called interferometry by combining the light collected from multiple individual telescopes. This method helped in effectively creating a giant telescope up to 140 meters in size.

"The companion we have found is very significant as it can have an influence on the fate of HR 5171 A, for example, stripping off its outer layers and modifying its evolution," Chesneau added in the press release.

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