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Westerlund 1-26 as seen from 7 billion kilometers away.

Westerlund 1-26 is a red hypergiant star that is located 11,500 light years from Earth in the constellation Ara. It is about 5 million year old. Westerlund 1-26 was originally discovered as an unusual radio waves source in the star cluster Westerlund 1, both of which were discovered by the Astronomer Bengt Westerlund in 1961.



Properties Edit

Despite being discovered in 1961, its size was not known until 2013. Westerlund 1-26 is such a mysterious star. No one knows the true size of it. Many consider it to be larger than VY Canis Majoris and others think it may be smaller, but we still don't know. It could be as large as 2,544 solar radii (3,543,242,496 km) or a smaller size of 1,530 solar radii (2,128,942,520 km). Thus, it is sometimes claimed as the largest star, even though this is unconfirmed. If the upper estimate is true it might extend halfway to Uranus's orbit. It has a luminosity 320,000 to 380,000 (possibly 1,100,000) times that of our sun, and a temperature of 3,600 to 3,700 degrees Kelvin.

Diameter 3,543,242,496 or 2,128,942,520 km
Temperature 3,323 °C
Spectral type M2-6Ia
Apparent Magnitude +17.194
Gravity 0.8913 m/s2
Constellation Ara