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Goodness gracious!
Hubble spies great balls of fire

Hubble image of WR124. The star is surrounded by hot clumps of gas being ejected into space at speeds of over 100,000 mph   

November 6, 1998
Web posted at: 12:45 PM EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Fiery clumps of gas dancing around a super-hot, short-lived star have been captured in new images by the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers said Friday.

Each of the "fireballs" has about 30 times the mass of the Earth, scientists said in a statement.

The star, an extremely rare type known as a Wolf-Rayet star, is expected to live fast and die young after going through a violent phase in which it spits out the huge fiery blobs. Each blob is about 100 billion-miles wide.

The star, WR124, is 15,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km).

Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute said WR124 is also remarkable for the vast arcs of glowing gas that surround it. The arcs are resolved into filamentary, chaotic substructures, but have no overall global shell structure.

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