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HD 5980

This extreme double star lies in the star forming nebula NGC 346 and is one of the brightest stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud. The bigger of the pair, star A, shows attributes of an LBV as well as of a Wolf-Rayet Star. Originally it had about 120 solar masses, of which it has already ejected the largest part. Its strongest eruption in recent times it had in 1994, when it reached 4.5 million solar luminosities.
The close companion, star B, is an evolved Wolf-Rayet Star. The system forms an eclipsing binary. The extreme winds of both stars collide and thereby emit X-rays.

In the foreground of HD 5980 is a young supernova remnant, visible in the picture to the right.

Constellation: Tucana
Distance: 200 000 light-years
Visual magnitude: 11.52
Space between HD 5980 A and B: 0.6 AU
Orbit period of HD 5980 A and B: 19.3 days

HD 5980 A

Spectral class: O7 - B1.5, WN
Luminosity: 1 - 4.5 million * Sun
Mass: 40 - 62 * Sun
Diameter: 48 - 160 * Sun

HD 5980 B

Spectral class: WN4

Mass: 30 * Sun
Diameter: 40 * Sun

Back: List of big and giant stars part 2
    HD 5980
Chandra X-ray image
Photo: Nazé et al, 2002, CXC, NASA

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