Monster Star Discovery Marks a Week of Strange Objects in the Sky

Cynthia Dermody

largest starMy head is beginning to spin from all the extraterrestrial goings-on this week: first the UFOs over China and now the discovery of a monster star, the largest known so far.

It's all very exciting but mind-crippling at the same time because it forces me to go back to that maddening question that no one of this world can answer: What if anything is out there in the dark? Are we really alone down here?

These are big questions I try to avoid for the sake of not becoming addicted to Tylenol. A lot of people have fun discussing and debating these great mysteries, like life on other planets and the existence of God, but I run from such deep philosophical banter. Because what's the point? I'll say one thing, you'll say another, we'll get into a big argument, you'll walk out in a huff, I'll get a headache, and we still won't know the answer.

So when it comes to cases like this, I just pick the one that makes sense to me and go with it. Then I try to occupy myself with the things I can find the answers to, like the right size screw for the ceiling fan I've been trying to install, and the best weather day for the beach (though that can be mysterious too).

Then last week came the UFOs over China. And now the super-huge star, which is being called R136a1 by the British scientists that discovered it and is 250 times the size of the sun. If it were in our solar system (in which case I probably wouldn't be here writing this), it would outshine our current sun to the degree our sun currently outshines the moon. In other words, it would be a million times stronger. I don't know anything about astronomy, but I'm guessing that means a sunblock with SPF 2000 wouldn't stop those harmful UV rays from frying us whole. I assume it wouldn't even get to that point because the earth would likely have ceased to exist in the first place.

The English scientists say the star discovery is significant because it causes them to refine and expand their current theories about stars, their size, and their life cycles. In other words, things aren't always as they seem, they don't always get it right the first time.

Now back to those UFOs ...


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