The Hubble telescope has found a space monster. Or rather, nine space monsters.
Thanks to the unique ultraviolet cameras of the giant space telescope, astronomers have been taking a closer look at star cluster R136 - a grouping of stars in the Magellanic Clouds (you know the ones; orbiting the Milky Way, 170,000 light-years away from Earth, mainly visible from the southern hemisphere?) long thought to house some incredibly bright suns.
A new image has revealed that the cluster comprises dozens of stars 50 times larger than our own Sun - and nine "Very Massive Stars", all described as being over 100 times larger than our own local ball of fire.
Together, these nine stars outshine the Sun by a factor of 30 million. Which is just a bit bright.
This is what that grouping looks like...
"There have been suggestions that these monsters result from the merger of less extreme stars in close binary systems," explains Saida Caballero-Nieves, a co-author of the Hubble study.
"From what we know about the frequency of massive mergers, this scenario can’t account for all the really massive stars that we see in R136, so it would appear that such stars can originate from the star formation process."
As soon as someone cracks faster-than-light travel, we know where we'll be headed for a quick tan.