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What If Sun Gets Replaced By R136a1 – Most Massive and Luminous Star Ever

Updated on September 9, 2013

R136a1 Very Short Video- The massive known star in the Universe - Read all info in this hub

A team of scientists has discovered the most massive stars found so far. One of them, R136a1, has a birth weight of more than 320 times the mass of the sun and up to twice the currently accepted limit of 150 solar masses. Also, this star is the most luminous and massive star found till date. Today pankaj3625, a fellow hubber, asked a question in the hubpages Q&A and here is the original question, “What Will Happen If Sun Gets Replaced by R136a1 - The New Sun? It is all over the news since a few days that scientists have discovered a new sun by the name of R136a1. What is R136a1? Is it a massive star? Is it more luminous than sun? How many light years away is R136a1 from us? Are their more stars like R136a1? Is our sun going to die? Will it replace sun?” I have answered all these interesting questions asked by Pankaj. Read on…


A recent discovery of R136a1 was made possible by a combination of instruments including VST (Very Large Telescope) at the ESO (European Southern Observatory). According to European Southern Observatory “the existence of such monster stars that are millions of times brighter than Sun and which lose weight with aging, could provide the real answers to the mystery of how massive stars can be”. At the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, a team of senior astronomers led by Paul Crowther, Professor of Astrophysics, used the file information in Hubble Space Telescope ESA/NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to study in detail 2 young clusters stars namely RMC 136th or R136 (a super star cluster in Tarantula Nebula, can be called a factory of young stars) and NGC 3603 (an open cluster of stars located in Milky Way). This giant star known as R136a1 has been discovered in the cluster R136 and this is the biggest star ever discovered. The current mass of R136a1 is up to 265 solar masses with a birth weight as mentioned above of up to 320 times the mass of the sun. R136a1 is also not only the biggest stars ever found, but also the brightest star up to ten million X more than the Sun’s brightness.

R136A1 sun
R136A1 sun
R136A1 original pic
R136A1 original pic
R136a1 Heaviest star in the universe compared with yellow dwarf star, red dwarf star, and blue dwarf star.
R136a1 Heaviest star in the universe compared with yellow dwarf star, red dwarf star, and blue dwarf star.
R136 (RMC 136th) cluster of young and massive stars.
R136 (RMC 136th) cluster of young and massive stars.
R136A1 Burning star
R136A1 Burning star
R136 galaxy.
R136 galaxy.

R136a1 - Viewed with the use of Very Large Telescope


According to Raphael Hirschi, KeeleUniversity and his team, “If R136a1 gets replaced by sun in our solar system:

  1. Its high mass throughout year will reduce our earth to 3 weeks.
  2. Its rays will bathe our planet with an incredibly strong ultraviolet radiation, making completely impossible for any organism to survive on earth.
  3. Also it would exceed our sun as much as our sun now exceeds our full moon.


R136a1 is 165000 light years away from our solar system. According to European Southern Observatory, NGC 3603 is a prominent star-making factory where stars form extensively in the large clouds of gas and dust in the nebula. This galaxy is located approximately 22,000 light years from Sun, for its part, R136 (RMC 136th) another cluster of young and massive stars located inside one of the neighboring galaxies to the Milky Way is approximately 165,000 light years away from our solar system. The team of astronomers led by Paul Crowther revealed several stars with surface temperatures above 40,000 degrees. This temperature is estimated as being 7 times hotter than the sun’s temperature. Also this newly discovered star is some 10 times larger and several million times brighter than sun. In addition to this, comparisons with previous models and projects have indicated that several of these stars were born with masses above 150 solar masses. Unlike humans, these stars are born heavier and lose weight with aging. After a little more than a million years from now, the most massive star R136a1 will be of middle age and will have suffered a severe weight loss, shedding a lot of mass in that period of time approximately 1/5th of its initial mass or more than 50 solar masses. This statement was given by Paul Crowther, Professor of Astrophysics, in University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.


Up until now there is no star found to be more massive or luminous than R136a1 but there are millions of stars in nearby galaxies on which scientists are keeping an eye on and it is possible that NASA and other space exploration agencies will discover more stars like R136a1.


Not now. It will take another 5 billion years before our sun will die and it will be when it will convert all its hydrogen into helium.


No, it is not possible for R136A1 to replace our sun as the galaxy in which this star is located is approximately 22,000 light years from our sun.

VLT Update 1 {21st of July 2010}: Most Massive Star Discovered


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    • profile image

      Jeff Allai 4 months ago

      It is not the biggest star (in terms of volume & radius) but the heaviest star known to date.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Yeah Wreshyn.

    • Wreshyn profile image

      Wreshyn 6 years ago from Stockholm

      Massive destruction.. :)

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hello lone77star, you have written some incredible info in the above comment. Somethings you have said here are worth researching and I have started my work and will be up with the results. Thanks for giving me a new idea to write something as I was quite bored after doing the APril 2011 contest.

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi soni2006. I enjoyed the hub, but have some questions. Why do you mention NGC 3603? Is R136a1 found there? If so, it seems there is a discrepancy on distances -- 22,000 ly vs. 165,000 ly.

      I'm curious what the diameter is. I wonder if Earth's orbit would fit. And at several million times brighter, would Earth survive or be vaporized by the increased insolation? Even Rigel, at 57,000 x brightness of Sol would likely destroy Earth, if it replaced our sun.

      Perhaps "die" is too strong a word for the sub-giant and giant phases of any star. I think "death" of a star is traditionally applied to the post-red giant stage -- supernova, pulsar, black hole, neutron star, or white dwarf. Late stars (red dwarfs) likely don't even make it that far, but none have existed long enough yet to die (the universe is too young).

      Our sun may go red giant in another 5 billion years, but it seems Earth won't support life that long. In another billion years, the gradually increasing brightness of our sun will evaporate our oceans, making our world a desert. It seems the window of human habitability is relatively narrow in the life of a star.

    • sunchild28 profile image

      sunchild28 7 years ago from Nigeria

      Great info you actually shared with us.I love and acquired a lot of knowledge in here.thanks for sharing.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks a lot Abhinash. I am glad you liked the information.

    • profile image

      Abinash bal 7 years ago

      Its great to know about such a thing............

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Yes you are right rsmrostov so we need to worry about those things first. I agree.

    • profile image

      rsmrostov 7 years ago

      by the time the sun dies life on Earth will be extinct for different reasons (lack or resources, overpopulation and etc.)

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      It's my pleassure BeatsMe. Thanks a lot for your visit.

    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 7 years ago

      Wow. Nice detailed information. You must've researched it very well. Thumbs up for a gr8 hub. :)

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi bluejay, amorea, and Steve, don't worry about our sun. We, humans, and our earth still have thousands of years before we die.

    • Steve 3.0 profile image

      Steve 3.0 7 years ago from Cornwall UK

      Nice hub. I read somewhere that the sun will one day grow so big it will reach the current orbit of the earth. No point worrying about the sun dying, it will eat the earth first. This is all billions of years away, hopefully:)

    • profile image

      amorea13 7 years ago

      Enjoyed this hub Soni2006 - packed with fascinating information - thank you - just wondering if you might have heard of any information regarding the EMF deteriorations in our sun suggesting that it may actually be likely to 'fry' us within 1,000 years. I don't know - something about magnetic reversals which have been going on since the 80's.

    • bluejay900 profile image

      Jessie 7 years ago

      Great hub! I was always worried about our sun dying. =(

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I am glad that you found this hub interesting enough to leave a comment. Thanks for the visit too.

    • TeamSTM profile image

      TeamSTM 7 years ago

      I am a Huge Astronomy Buff, the understaning of the Universe is one of my favorite past times! As a kid I loved looking through telescopes and seeing the stars and planets of our solar system, so I am always captivated by new discoveries!

      Thanks for a Wonderful and Informative HubPage!!

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks a lot Jennifer.

    • profile image

      Jennifer 7 years ago

      informative hubs! you took the awesome images.... great....

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      It's my pleasure Tanvii. Thanks for your support and kindness.

    • tanvii profile image

      tanvii 7 years ago from India

      really very nice hub and images are ossom thanks for sharing..

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks a lot for your visit and comments friends.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Awesome. Great images too

    • TheManWithNoPants profile image

      TheManWithNoPants 7 years ago from Tucson, Az.

      Super informative. Cosmology has always been a facination of mine.


    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for reading this hub one2get2no.

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 7 years ago from Olney

      Nice informative hub.

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      And then we would not have to think about survival problems because we would have discovered several other alternatives to earth for survival.

    • profile image 7 years ago

      Imagine the years before the death of our Sun, we'd better have found new places to inhabit out there that are suitable for life or else!


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