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Great balls of fire.

One of the most massive stars in the galaxy, named Eta Carinae, is on the verge of an explosive death. The blast could appear brighter than the moon in Earth's sky and may last for months.

Giants like Eta Carinae, which is around 100 to 150 times the mass of the sun, eventually burn out and explode in a brilliant outburst, or supernova.

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Scientists can't predict exactly when a star will blow. But Eta Carinae has given a clue that it could go off, says Chandra X-ray Observatory astrophysicist Peter Edmonds. Data from the observatory and Hubble Space Telescope shows the star already suffered one explosion--a sign of Eta Carinae's instability.

Eta Carinae's size and nearby location--in our Milky Way Galaxy--will give people on Earth a front-row view of the fireworks.
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Title Annotation:SPACE/SUPERNOVAS
Author:Crane, Cody
Publication:Science World
Date:Sep 17, 2007
Words:133
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