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Hubble hotshot?

Who's the hottest star in the Milky Way? Luke Perry? Halle Berry? Neither can hold a candle to a star the Hubble Space Telescope recently spotted in our galaxy.

The star's surface sizzles at a record 200,000 [degrees] C, calculates NASA astronomer Sally Heap. That is hot! The face of our Sun burns at only 5,500 [degrees] C.

But if the star's so hot, how come no one ever saw it before? Because it was hidden, says Heap - by a glowing cloud of gases called a nebula. Looking up through Earth's distorting atmosphere, astronomers couldn't tell the star from the cloud. But when Hubble opened its "eyes" high above our atmosphere, it had a clear view.

That view enabled astronomers to measure how much ultraviolet and visible light the star gives off. The higher the ratio of ultraviolet light to visible light, says Heap, the hotter the star.

Being in the last stage of stellar burnout is what makes this particular star such a fireball. "It's as if we've captured this object during its moment of glory," Heap says.
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Title Annotation:Hobble Space Telescopes finds new star
Author:Pope, Greg
Publication:Science World
Date:Dec 4, 1992
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