Hubble Telescope Snaps Sparkly Photo of Hypergiant Star's Home

Westerlund 1
Hubble stuns once again with an image of a super star cluster called Westerlund 1. A massive star resides here, dwarfing Earth's sun handily. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA)

Westerlund 1, the glittering star cluster that is home to a truly massive hypergiant star, takes center stage in this photo by the Hubble Space Telescope

Located about 15,000 light-years away, Westerlund 1 is the cosmic home of the giant star Westerlund 1-26, a monster red supergiant star (also known as a hypergiant). The star is so big, its radius is more than 1,500 times that of our sun, NASA officials said in an image description. 

"If Westerlund 1-26 were placed where our sun is in our solar system, it would extend out beyond the orbit of Jupiter," NASA officials wrote.

At around 3 million years old, the Westerlund 1 cluster is a young collection of stars when compared to our own sun  which is roughly 4.6 billion years old. This super star cluster likely was birthed in a single flurry of events  making all the stars residing here roughly the same age and composition, NASA officials explained.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.