J144547-5931

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J144547-5931 and J144701-5919: Two massive stars in the Milky Way, both about 9,000 light years from Earth.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/U. of Sydney/G.Anderson et al; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Caption: Data from Chandra and Spitzer of a region near the Galactic plane have been combined to track down some of the Milky Way’s heaviest stars, which can be very elusive. The outlined boxes contain darkened Spitzer data and a bright Chandra X-ray source (blue) that coincides with a strong infrared signal. These are giant stars thought to be at least 25 times more massive than the Sun. They are very bright in X-rays because high-speed winds from their surfaces collide with material, creating shock waves that generate temperatures up to 100 million degrees.

Scale: Wide Field: 33 by 25 arcmin (86 light years across); Inset: 6 by 6 arcmin (16 light years)

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
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