MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
R126 (also known as HD 37974) is a hypergiant blue variable star in the Large Magellanic Cloud, with unusual features in its spectrum. These features indicate that this massive star – seventy times the mass of the Sun and trillions of times more luminous – is surrounded by a dusty disc. Such discs were thought unlikely around hot stars but R126 shares this trait with another blue giant, HD 268835. The disc is thought to be around 60 times the diameter of the orbit of Pluto – some 0.3 trillion kilometres – but it is not known if the disc contains newly forming planets or is merely a relic from an earlier period of planet formation.
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