The most massive and luminous stars were long suspected to explode when they die, and astronomers now have the most direct evidence yet that these cosmic behemoths go out with a bang.
These findings shed light on the star explosions that provide the universe with the ingredients for planets and life, the researchers added.
With a mass more than 330,000 times that of Earth, the sun accounts for 99.86 percent of the solar system’s total mass. But as stars go, the sun is a lightweight. The largest and most luminous stars in the universe are Wolf-Rayet stars, which are more than 20 times as massive as the sun and at least five times as hot. Only a few hundred of these titan stars are known to astronomers.